APH News: June 2002
Your monthly link to the latest products and services information.
Becki Moody Joins APH Communications Department
We are pleased to announce that Becki Moody has joined the APH Communications Department in the newly created role of Communications Support Specialist. Becki is helping Communications with a wide variety of organizational and review tasks. Becki is transferring to Communications from the Advisory Services Department where her attention to detail has greatly helped with the Federal Quota census and many other jobs. Welcome, Becki!
New Product! Abacus Basic Competency
Abacus Basic Competency: A Counting Method is an instruction manual designed to teach children and adults abacus skills in the four basic math operations through instruction and exercises. It uses the counting method instead of the traditional indirect method.
- A simple method comparable to the way young sighted children count and add by counting things one at a time
- A minimum number of rules to be learned
- Speed in using the abacus is not lessened, but accuracy is increased
Large Print Edition: 7-00219-00 — $17.50
Braille Edition: 5-00219-00 — $17.50
New Ex Officio Trustees
APH welcomes Roxann Mayros as the new Ex Officio Trustee for the Florida Association of Workers for the Blind, Inc. Roxann replaces Vernon Metcalf who retired this year.
We would also like to welcome Evelyn P. Kelso as the new Ex Officio Trustee for the New Hampshire Department of Education, replacing Robert Sunberg.
New Adult Life Catalog Going to Press
An extensively updated edition of our Adult Life products catalog is going to press. This edition is reorganized for easier use and includes dozens of new products. This catalog is designed for older students and adults who are blind, their families, and their service providers. This 2002-2003 edition of the catalog will be available in print, on cassette tape, on disc, and on our Web site.
Our Louis Database Field Representative, Maria Delgado, is back at APH and ready to go on the road. After an unfortunate car accident and a six-month recovery period, Maria feels ready to again conduct her well-received database workshops. She is currently preparing trainings in Tennessee, New York, Texas, Washington, and Louisville. Please feel free to contact her to learn more about Louis, the APH File Repository, Fred’s Head, or the Accessible Media Producers Database.
EPAC and ESAC Advise APH
APH’s two new Advisory Committees, the Educational Products Advisory Committee (EPAC) and the Educational Services Advisory Committee (ESAC) met at APH during the week of May 13, 2002.
The two committees will submit reports of their activities, commendations, and recommendations that will assist the company in determining future directions. Copies of those reports will be shared through the APH web site.
APH Partners with Kentucky School for the Blind
Educational and Advisory Services of APH happily partnered again this year with the Kentucky School for the Blind to present "Gateways to Independence." The annual professional development event, designed for teachers of the visually impaired, was held in Louisville on the KSB campus, May 29 through 31. This year’s event focused on Math and Technology, and featured Susan Osterhaus from the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired – and many APH products!
Large Print Atlas Focus Group
June 9 through 11, APH will host a return of four of the original members of the Large Print Atlas Focus Group to determine additional information for our Large Print Atlas. While with us, the team will receive ArcView Training, which is a computer program allowing users to manipulate the elements of maps to make them present the information determined by the user. This software lends itself well to the purposes of making maps accessible to persons with low vision.
Summer ISAVE Training
ISAVE training continues to be in high demand this summer! On June 13, Field Representative Sandi Baker will conduct three training sessions at Texas Focus 2002: Looking for Access, a summer conference sponsored by the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired. In addition to ISAVE, Sandi will present a session on a variety of APH products and services.
As a result of the "Each One, Teach One" ISAVE train-the-trainer event at APH in April, APH is partnering with two participants to conduct a one-day ISAVE training for the Vision Department of the Rochester, NY schools on June 24. Emily Leyenberger Pfohl and Rona Shaw were eager participants in our April event, and are excited to be working together to conduct this training for the Rochester-area vision teachers.
APH Summer Product Promotion
At the American Council of the Blind (ACB) and National Federation of the Blind (NFB) summer consumer conferences, APH will offer items on sale with extra savings. Additional promotional items are listed on the APH web site, many of which make great souvenirs, gifts, etc. All special pricing will be available to customers from June 28 through July 13. We invite you to visit our exhibits in Houston or Louisville. We would love the opportunity to say hello.
What’s New in Fred’s Head?
Fred’s Head is the APH web site’s accessible on-line compendium of tips and techniques for and by blind or visually impaired individuals.
Some recent additions include:
- Toys for Tots – an overview of some accessible toys for preschoolers
- Soldering Without Sight – a tip submitted by Jack Yeaman
- Sources for Unique Gifts – compiled from suggestions provided by Brain Waves Contest participants
- Dr. Imke Durre, Climatologist – role model record
If you can’t find the answer to your question in Fred’s Head, simply complete the special form. All questions are answered, and we’ll use the questions as subjects to address in future records.
Win a Gift Certificate from Fred’s Head!
Fred’s Head is proud to sponsor Brain Waves. Every other week, Fred’s Head posts a question. The best answers, those that save someone who is blind or visually impaired time, trouble, effort, money, or otherwise improve their quality of life, are posted on a special web page at APH. From those postings, a randomly drawn winner receives a $25 gift certificate from APH each month!
APH’s Software Engineering Makes a Move
The Software Engineering Group of the Research Department recently moved to new technology-friendly offices right next to Technical Research in our plant area. This new suite of offices features electrical outlets around the entire office, built-in cabinets with lots of storage, an open communications-friendly design, and room for more programmers and/or consultants. The "techies" even have a heating and cooling system that is adjustable any time of the year!
With the 50-year anniversary of the Department of Educational Research, it is appropriate to celebrate with this new commitment in the form of modern office space that is computer-friendly.
The Software Engineering Group is field testing yet more products. You are invited to get a taste of the future with some exciting new software that you can help shape. In addition to Termite Torpedo, the low vision friendly arcade game, and Teacher’s Pet, an accessible test creation and taking tool, we are now testing Studio Recorder and Word Player. Studio Recorder is a professional digital audio-editing package geared to spoken word content. Word Player is MP3-playing software that is geared to spoken word content. Features that make these two programs more appropriate than traditional packages for performing these functions include the ability to remember your place in a long file, speed-up without pitch distortion, and phrase detection that lets you navigate through audio files by content rather than by time. Get more information at http://www.aph.org/beta.
Coming Soon: "Taking a Further Look at Cortical Visual Impairment"
The next National Instructional Partnerships event to hit the road finds us returning to the Braille Institute of America in Los Angeles, CA. This event, which will take place August 27 – 29, 2002, will be presented in partnership with the Braille Institute, and with the Center for the Partially Sighted. We are excited to welcome the Center for the Partially Sighted as a new partner in this venture.
Presenters for this workshop will include Dr. Christine Roman, of Marshall University, and Dr. William Takeshita, of the Center for the Partially Sighted. This workshop will feature materials and intervention techniques for children with cortical visual impairment, as well as strategies for obtaining the best results possible from eye exams for children with CVI. Videotape case studies will allow participants to participate in the design of intervention programs for several students.
Conference information, along with online registration, is now available at the APH web site (http://www.aph.org/advisory/workshops/cvi82002.html). Please share this information with any interested parties in your area.
ATIC–Focus Group Planned in September:
"Promising Practices for Editing Primary Grade Textbooks"
The Accessible Textbook Initiative and Collaboration (ATIC) will host a focus group to discuss the problems transcribers face when editing textbooks for the primary grades. The ATIC staff will then utilize the suggested solutions to create specifications for transcription of these books.
Powerpoint Guidelines for Low Vision
Low Vision Project Leader Elaine Kitchel is developing Guidelines for the Development of Powerpoint Presentations for Audiences which may Include Persons with Low Vision. These guidelines will be based on the same science from which we drew information for the Guidelines for the Production of Large Print Documents for Optimal Readability, and will include feedback received from persons with low vision who are frequent viewers of Powerpoint presentations. We hope to be testing these guidelines in-house within a few weeks.
Babies Count Update
Updating APH’s Test Central
The APH Educational Research Department’s Test Central is committed to providing accessible assessments and tests for students who are blind or visually impaired. It will enable APH to provide accessible tests or contract with other identified entities to assure the provision of accessible tests. Test Central staff will coordinate test and assessment formats and materials and most promising practices related to test adaptation and development, test administration, and test-taking procedures.
Test Central staff are currently working on the following activities:
- Developing a manual titled Making Tests Accessible for Students with Visual Impairments.
- Hiring staff to work at APH as test editors.
- Utilizing consultants in the field with expertise in testing and visual impairment issues.
- Providing training for a network of test editors who can be contracted with to assist in providing accessible tests.
- Utilizing the expertise of a Test Central Council as advisors to Test Central’s goals and activities. Council members include representatives of test publishing companies, instructional materials centers for visually impaired, state vision consultants, and disability research organizations.
- Standardizing braille, large print, tactile graphics, audio, and computer-assisted test formats and processes.
For more information, visit the APH web site at http://www.aph.org/edresearch or call Debbie Willis at 800/223-1839, ext. 311.
For additional recent APH News, click the following:
May Issue – http://www.aph.org/advisory/adv0502.html
April Issue – http://www.aph.org/advisory/adv0402.html
March Issue – http://www.aph.org/advisory/adv0302.html
February Issue – http://www.aph.org/advisory/adv0202.html
January Issue – http://www.aph.org/advisory/adv0201.html
Thanks to the following APH staff members for their contributions to this effort:
- Sandi Baker
- Scott Blome
- Burt Boyer
- Valerie Cox
- Tony Grantz
- Janie Humphries
- Elaine Kitchel
- Jane Lyons
- Becki Moody
- Artina Paris
- Kris Scott
- Larry Skutchan
- Malcolm Turner
- Debbie Willis