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

June 2005

Learning Across a Lifetime

The 137th Annual Meeting of APH
Ex Officio Trustees and Special Guests
October 13-15, 2005, Louisville, Kentucky

Keynote Speaker: Dr. J. Elton Moore

Dr. Elton Moore is Director of the Rehabilitation and Research Training Center on Blindness and Low Vision at Mississippi State University. He recently served as lead editor for the American Foundation for the Blind’s (AFB’s) Foundations of Rehabilitation Counseling with Persons who are Blind or Visually Impaired and currently serves as Associate Editor for the Journal of Visual Impairment and Blindness.

Dr. Moore’s 30+ years in the field are sure to make his presentation an opportunity for all of us to continue learning across a lifetime!

Additionally, APH staff and product authors will provide exciting information on new and upcoming products. A banquet honoring APH InSights Artists and professionals in our field will also be a highlight.

Questions? Call 800/223-1839, ext. 300

Watch the APH Annual Meeting site for information on our new home for three years, the Marriott Hotel, and a program agenda.

National Family Conference

Families Connecting With Families

The news is out – there will be a National Family Conference at the Galt House Hotel in Louisville, Kentucky, August 12-14, 2005! Make your plans now to attend. The conference focus is on families, but anyone wishing to attend is welcome. This can be a wonderful time for professionals and families to connect, share, and learn.

Dr Sandra Lewis

Top professionals in the field of blindness will be presenting at the conference. Dr. Sandra Lewis, Associate Professor and Coordinator of Programs in Visual Impairment at Florida State University, will present on Daily Living Skills. Tom Miller, Director of the Preschool Program at Perkins School for the Blind, will present on Social Skills. Cyral Miller, Director of Outreach at the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired, will present on the Expanded Core Curriculum. Sue Dalton, Independent Consultant and member of NOAH, will present, "On the Way to Independence – Strategies for Paving the Way." And Susan LaVenture and Julie Urban from NAPVI will present on IDEIA – Individuals with Disabilities Education and Improvement Act—What Parents Need to Know. Other presenters will be highlighted in the July APH News.

Agencies and organizations in many states are working hard to find funds to provide support to families to attend. If anyone wants to know how this is working, please contact Jim Durst at the Indiana School for the Blind and Visually Impaired, Debbie Naucke at the Delta Gamma Center for Children with Visual Impairments in St. Louis, or Allan Steinberg at the Kentucky School for the Blind Charitable Foundation. Lions Clubs also may be sources to contact.

Don’t miss this opportunity to learn and have fun!

‘K’ Sonar Webcast Scheduled for June 10!

Whether you are an orientation and mobility instructor, a traveler with a visual impairment, or just curious about state of the art technology, you will find the ‘K’ Sonar webcast to be an auditory learning experience. The ‘K’ Sonar, is a new Electronic Travel Device from the American Printing House for the Blind.

During the ‘K’ Sonar webcast, presenters will explain and demonstrate the auditory feedback that helps ‘K’ Sonar users determine location and distance of obstacles and landmarks. Presenters will also show how the ‘K’ Sonar can help blind travelers learn to recognize many objects in the environment before touching them with a cane.

The presentation will take place on June 10, from 1:00 to 2:00 P.M. Eastern Time. To sign up for this webcast please e-mail Maria Delgado: email hidden; JavaScript is required

Summer Book Port Webcast Series Begin July 5!

This summer, become a "Book Port pro" by participating in an interactive series of webcasts from the comfort of your school, home, or office.

As you may know, the Book Port is APH’s hot selling compact electronic device that gives you the freedom to take your books, music, notes, and recorded memos with you, to access anywhere, any time.

The Book Port series will take place once a week during the months of July and August. Each webcast will cover a different topic (to be announced on our Web site:, and will run from 30 to 45 minutes, depending on the number of questions each topic generates.

The first webcast presentation will provide an overview of the Book Port’s basic features and will take place on Tuesday, July 5, from 1:00 to 1:45 p.m. Eastern Time.

To sign up, or to send ideas for other webcasts you would like to see this summer, please send an e-mail to: email hidden; JavaScript is required

Resource Services Department Hires Specialist

Kathleen Cantrell

Kathleen Cantrell began work on May 4 as a Resource Services Specialist. Among many other responsibilities, Kathleen works to obtain copyright permissions and begin processing the orders for enlarged print books. Kathleen is working on her Master’s in Library Science. She already holds a Master’s in Music from Case Western and most recently worked as an instructor at the University of Louisville School of Music. Please join us in welcoming Kathleen to APH! We are delighted to have her join our team!

Louis Survey Results and Louis Search Webcast

Louis Database of Accessible Materials and APH File Repository

APH conducted a brief survey of Louis satisfaction online from mid-December 2004 through January 2005 It was also delivered through the IRCVH and APH trustees lists. There were 58 respondents to the survey with the largest single group of respondents (18) comprised of instructional resource materials center employees. The vast majority of Louis users agree that Louis is easy to use: 91.2% agree. Other survey results: 43% of respondents prefer using the new Louis interface, while 27.5% prefer the older version. Although the comments indicated the vast majority of the respondents found Louis easy to use, a few revealed some misunderstandings. We are attempting to address these through training, such as with our recent webcast on Louis searching.

June Louis search tip: Remember that clicking on the source agency email address from the item full display screen allows you to send an email asking about that item directly to the agency.

Kathern Gruber Joins Colleagues in Hall of Fame for Leaders and Legends of the Blindness Field

Kathern Gruber's Hall of Fame Plaque

Kathern Frances Gruber (1905-1998) began her career as a resource teacher for blind children in Minneapolis and New York where she introduced innovative teaching methods, especially in the areas of independence and self-reliance.

While at AFB, Ms. Gruber was instrumental in working with Warren Bledsoe and Russ Williams to launch the Hines Blind Rehabilitation Center, securing necessary staff, materials, and equipment.

In 1995 the Bureau of Veterans Administration presented Kathern Gruber with the BVA Medal, the highest honor they bestow.

For additional information on this legend of our field, visit the Hall of Fame web site or come to Louisville and see your Hall of Fame.

Albinism – First Hand

Burt Boyer and other participants of the group

Perkins School for the Blind’s Harriett Ward shares:
At Perkins School for the Blind I have the incredible opportunity to facilitate and coordinate short term topical groups for parents of children birth to three years old. This spring we have had guest speakers from three generations of Albinism from a college senior and his high school freshman sister, to a young mom herself her husband and children all with OCAI and Burt Boyer whom we know from APH and Babies Count. In fact Burt was first in the speaker series and they hung every word and are still talking about him.

Realizing that the children will have good, productive, happy futures is a desired outcome of this two month module. Burt has parented, he fishes, has wrestled, writes, teaches, and travels. He was able to describe the impact of Albinism on his own vision and share solutions and ways to make vision comfortable.

One of the children had just had a low vision exam for devices and Burt let him try out his telescope and he was thrilled. There will be no adjustment problem for that child now that he has seen a guy who "looks like me" use a telescope! He was even more excited when he bumped into Burt at the Museum of Science later in the day. He was chatting about it on our home visit the following week.

It was also fabulous to have an adult male come and connect with the Dads in group. Thanks for taking time for us Burt and please come back whenever you want!


Minds Return to APH!!

Thirty university program faculty and students from around the country and Canada met at APH May 22 – 24, 2005 for the third installment of the Meeting of the Minds. Participants from 17 university personnel preparation programs brought their wisdom, experience, knowledge and concerns to the table to strengthen the partnership between APH and pre-service programs in the field.

Research projects, the National Center for Leadership in Visual Impairment (NCLVI), national standards, ideas for new products, input on products in development, the expanded core curriculum, accessible testing and other topics occupied the group for the two-day discussion and dialogue. The product loan process for university programs was reviewed, and information about NIMAC was also on the agenda.

Highlights included small group review of early childhood intervention modules produced by Dr. Deborah Hatton, University of North Carolina, and an afternoon "product fair" that gave APH Project Leaders an opportunity to get feedback from the group on products in development.

Special thanks to Dr. Hatton for her generous contribution to provide travel stipends for participants!

photo of the Meeting of the Minds participants

CVI Reaches New Summit


Dr. Christine Roman-Lantzy, APH Project Leader in the area of Cortical Visual Impairment (CVI), represented APH as a celebrated panel of experts shared their work and research at the CVI Summit, held in San Francisco April 30, 2005. Sponsored by the SKI-HI Institute of Utah State University, the Smith Kettlewell Eye Research Institute, the Blind Babies Foundation and many other partnering organizations, the Summit provided a forum for discussion on definitions, intervention, diagnosis, and other relevant issues for students with CVI.

Experts from the medical and educational profession were joined by two REAL experts – parents of children with CVI – to offer presentations and panel discussion throughout the day.

Educators included Dr. Roman-Lantzy, Dr. Amanda Hall Lueck, Beth Langley, Dr. Louisa Mayer, and Dr. Mary Morse.

Medical experts included Dr. August Colenbrander, Dr. William Good, Dr. Creig Hoyt, Dr. Lea Hyvärinen, Dr. Lena Jacobson, Dr. Carey Matsuba, MD, and Dr. Stuart Teplin.

Parents included Stephanie Spaid of Mountain View, CA, and Michelle Wilson of Hamilton, Ohio.

APH staff members Bob Brasher and Janie Blome were among the invited observers of the event. Proceedings from the Summit will be available from AFB at a later date.

For additional information, visit our CVI web site.

Look at the Picture and Write a Story

While "Look at the picture and write a story" can be provided in accessible media such as braille and audio formats, the same item presented in these media would not be truly accessible to blind test takers. This presents an important distinction between accessible media and accessibility of a test item. Therefore, a critical aspect of preparing state and national assessment items for blind or visually impaired test takers is to review and possibly edit or request a substitute test item from the test publisher. During the review, editing and transcription processes, it is crucial for accessible media editors, transcribers, and accessible media producers to work closely with each other and with the publisher of the original test.

Kristopher Scott, an Accessible Test Editor, and Debbie Willis, Director of APH’s Accessible Tests Department, joined 13 educators from throughout Kentucky to serve on KY’s Item Bias Review Committee. Instruction and facilitation of the 2 ½-day review process was provided by Dr. Joanne Jensen from WestEd.

The following information was taken from Dr. Jensen’s instructions (April 2005; Frankfort, Kentucky) prior to beginning the review process. With regard to items being reviewed, the main factors considered were bias and sensitivity. Bias was defined as the non-curricular-relevant factors that tend to lower scores of an identifiable group of students. To determine statistical bias, the performance on individual items for students of similar ability is compared. The second factor, sensitivity, was defined as the non-curricular-relevant issues that may offend or dismay significant numbers of students, teachers, and/or parents.

Potential test items were rejected based on three factors; 1) opportunity and access, 2) portrayal of groups represented, and 3) protecting privacy and avoiding offensive content. The content of the text or test items must provide students with a fair opportunity to demonstrate what they know, regardless of their race, ethnicity, gender, religion, disability, socioeconomic status, or region in which they live. Although text or test items may focus on one group within Kentucky’s diverse population, issues and/or themes must be approached in a manner that do not demean, offend, or inaccurately portray any religious, ethnic, cultural, gender, social group, or disability. The context of the text or test items must not intrude on the privacy of the values and beliefs of students or their families, or offend students, parents, or the public of Kentucky.

Through the process of performing bias and sensitivity reviews, test validity is enhanced, fairness of test items is increased, and educational initiatives for all students are supported.

Ongoing Literacy for Families of Children with Visual Impairments

Arizona Schools for the Deaf and the Blind (ASDB) is pleased to announce that, DOTS FOR FAMILIES, Ongoing Literacy for Families of Children with Visual Impairment, is now available on the ASDB web site early childhood page.

Designed and written by Dr. L Penny Rosenblum of the University of Arizona and Linda Reed, M.Ed. of the ASDB Parent Outreach Program, this site offers families and others the opportunity to learn about braille and how the young child might use braille to develop literacy skills. Starting with the braille alphabet, families and others can learn to read and write beginning braille through 15 short lessons. Other pages on this web site include Who’s who in Braille, Fun and Games, Stories, and Resources. Additional pages are still being developed. We value your input. Please take the time to complete our Feedback form when you visit our site. This web site will continue to grow, so be sure to come back and visit it often!

APH Welcomes New Ex Officio Trustees

Richard Snowden, Illinois School for the Visually Impaired, replacing Marjorie Olson

Laraine P. Caton, New York State Education Department, replacing Jennifer Ervin

APH Travel Calendar

on the road with APH


June 3-4, 2005
KSB Alumni Meeting;
Kentucky School for the Blind, Louisville, KY

June 8-9, 2005
Gateways to Independence;
KY School for the Blind; Louisville, KY

June 8-11, 2005
University of Alabama at Birmingham Training/CVI NIP Event/Parent Workshop;
Point Clear, AL

June 9-11, 2005
Parent Workshop & Homegrown Video Taping;
Point Clear, AL

June 9-10, 2005
Universal Design for Learning Summer Institute;
Lexington, KY

June 10, 2005
‘K’ Sonar Web Cast (1 hour presentation)

June 11-12, 2005
ABC Braille Study Meeting of the Research Group;
Atlanta, GA

June 13, 2005
University of Arizona Teacher Training;
Tucson, AZ

June 13-15, 2005
Georgia Project for Assistive Technology
Yearly Institute for Special Education Teachers

June 14-15, 2005
Math NIP Event;
Hartford, CT

June 17-24, 2005
Council of Chief State School Officers Conference on Large-Scale Assessment;
San Antonio, TX

June 18, 2005
APH Pre-conference Workshop (Council of Chief State School Officers on Large Scale Assessment;
San Antonio, TX

June 22-24, 2005
2005 Central Atlantic O & M Association (C.O.M.A.);
Pittsburgh, PA

June 25, 2005
National Braille Challenge;
Los Angeles, CA at the Braille Institute


July 1-8, 2005
NFB Conference;
Galt House, Louisville, KY

July 2-9, 2005
ACB National Convention 2005;
Las Vegas, NV

July 5-7, 2005
RRTC Conference on Technology;
Las Vegas, NV

July 11-12, 2005
"Workshop with the Experts" New Mexico State Univ. Training for VI Teachers;
Las Cruces, NM

July 20, 2005
Western Michigan University In-Service;
Kalamazoo, MI

July 30-August 5, 2005
Boston, MA

Summer Deals: Lower Prices for Recorder/Players, July 2 – 15, 2005

Everyone will want to get in on these great deals! For a very brief time, APH is discounting prices on three popular items: the Handi II and Table Top Recorder/Players and the new Colorino Talking Color Identifier. The sale is for everyone: those attending this summer’s consumer conferences, and anyone who orders from APH during the sale period. If you do attend one of the conferences, make sure you come to the APH booth and see what we have to offer!

photo of the Handi II Cassette recorder/player

Handi II Cassette Recorder/Player

This lightweight, "walkabout" player/recorder, plays and records both two track and four track tapes and plays stereo through the included headphones.

Handi II Cassette Recorder/Player: 1-07085-00 — Reg. $170 — Promo $149.

TableTop Recorder/Player

Portable desktop unit has a larger speaker that provides better sound for listening without headphones.

TableTop Recorder/Player: 1-07150-00 — Reg. $225 — Promo $199

Colorino Talking Color Identifier

photo of the Colorino with its carrying case

Lower-priced alternative to the ColorTest II can detect over 100 nuances of color and can also be used as a light detector. Both Spanish and English language versions available.

Colorino Talking Color Identifier, English: 1-03955-00 — Reg. $195, Promo $170
Colorino Talking Color Identifier, Spanish: 1-03955-SP — Reg. $195, Promo $170

Note: Colorino not available with quota funds

Book Port gets New Features with Version 2.0

photo of the Book Port

After several months of development and testing, APH is proud to announce an exciting update to Book Port. The new version supports note taking capabilities using the braille keyboard, note synchronization with files on your PC, support for Spanish language files, additional features and documentation that make listening to podcasts easier, and many more. Complete details and documentation for all the new features are at:

The update is free to customers who have an internet connection. To update, just connect Book Port to the PC. If automatic notifications are on, as they are by default, a message will appear telling the user about the new firmware and software. The message contains ‘Yes’, ‘Details’, and ‘No’ buttons. To read about the new features, the user should press the ‘Details’ button. To update the unit, press the ‘Yes’ button. If automatic notifications are off, simply connect the unit to the PC, then select the ‘Options’ button in the Book Port Transfer window. Select the ‘Advanced’ tab, and press both the ‘Firmware Update’ and the ‘Software Update’ buttons.

Book Port: 1-07440-00 — $395.00

NEW! Electronic Preservation of Braille Service

photo of the braille scanner

APH can now convert your printed braille into electronic braille files, making it possible for you to preserve:

  • important documents
  • vintage books
  • documents that you may need to edit or update frequently
  • metal mastering plates

Using a new process, APH can scan single-sided or interpoint braille documents on paper or metal master plates and return a braille-ready file on floppy disk, CD-ROM, or via email. These files have been proofread by an NLS certified braillist and are ready for you to edit or send directly to an embosser or notetaker. NOTE: We cannot scan tactile graphic portions of documents.

The price is $2.50 per page and Federal Quota funds may be used under most circumstances. If you have questions about Federal Quota eligibility, for more information about the preservation process, or to place an order, contact Contract Administration at or call 800-223-1839.

It’s No Mystery What Food Is in That Can—Sherlock Will Tell You!

photo of the Sherlock

The Sherlock Talking Label Identifier is a digital voice recorder with each recorded message keyed to an adhesive label or plastic disk tag. Labels or tags can be attached to clothing, medications, packaged products, frozen foods, documents, books, CDs, anything you wish to identify. To make a label, hold the Sherlock against the label or tag, push two buttons, and record your label information. To read a label, hold the Sherlock against the label or tag, push one button, and hear your recorded label.

Sherlock holds up to two-and-a-half hours of recorded information and supports up to 2000 labels. You can also erase and reuse labels and tags. Labels hold up well in the freezer and tags are fine in the washer and dryer.

Red in color, the Sherlock unit measures 4 3/8 x 2 x 1 inches. Its built-in speaker also serves as its microphone for recording. It offers an earphone jack for private listening.

Labels are 1 3/8" long and 1" wide. They are made of pressure sensitive paper that can be adhered the item being labeled. Tags are 1 1/4" high, 1" wide, and 7/16" thick. They are made of plastic with a key-fob type hole at the top. A safety pin, rubber band, or string through this hole attaches tags to objects.

Sherlock includes:

  • Sherlock Talking Label Identifier unit
  • 25 Sherlock Labels
  • 10 Sherlock Tags
  • Two AAA batteries
  • Zippered Carry Case
  • Cassette instructions
  • Print and braille Quick Start Guide and parts list
  • One year warranty

Sherlock Talking Label Identifier: 1-07410-00 — $229.00
Extra Adhesive Labels (pack of 25): 1-07411-00 — $29.00
Extra Plastic Tags (pack of 10): 1-07412-00 — $24.00

Now Available! 2006 Calendars in Large Print or Braille

2006 EZ Track Calendar

The EZ Track Calendar, one component in a series of large print organizers, is a systematic and organized way of keeping track of appointments, holidays, and other events. Each large print page holds four days’ activities, with enough room to write notes and appointments. The calendar comes with a three-ring binder.

EZ Track 2006 Calendar (with binder): 1-07900-06 — $29.00
2006 Calendar Insert only: 1-07901-06 — $25.75

Braille DateBook 2006

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 stylus and braille slate; a tabbed braille calendar and organizer for storing appointments; filler paper; organizer tabs; and a print and braille guide book.

Braille DateBook 2006: 1-07899-06 — $53.00
Calendar Tabs for 2006:1-07898-06 — $13.00

NEW! Two new videos showing you how to use the ENVISION training for optical devices are available!

These fun, 20-minute videos are the latest edition to APH’s Homegrown Video Series. They feature Emmy the Emu, and share information about how to use the ENVISION optical device training program. The viewer will meet a low vision optometrist, a teacher of the visually impaired, a classroom teacher, and several students with low vision as they share the key elements of ENVISION and demonstrate its use.

ENVISION I: 1-30015-00 — $10.00
ENVISION II: 1-30016-00 — $10.00

Rolling Right Along Construction KitTM

photo of the Rolling Right Along Construction Kit

Rolling Right Along Construction KitTM allows teachers and parents to construct books in a similar fashion to Rolling Into Place, an interactive storybook that is currently available from APH. Using provided accordion-folded panels, hook/loop material pathways, and accessory items (e.g., braillable sheets and a package of Sticky Dots AdhesiveTM), self-designed books can be tailored to the interests and needs of a particular child with a visual impairment or blindness. The construction materials are accompanied by a full-color User’s Guide that provides story suggestions, tips for adding tactile embellishments, and sample book layouts. Enjoy designing your own tactile books with this starter kit. If possible, involve your student/child in the construction fun.

Rolling Right Along Construction Kit: 1-08451-00 — $55.00

APH News Credits

Dr. Tuck Tinsley

Malcolm Turner, APH Web Site Coordinator

Thanks to the following APH staff:

  • Janie Blome, Director, Field Services
  • Scott Blome, Director, Communications
  • Burt Boyer, Early Childhood Project Leader, Research
  • Maria Delgado, Field Representative, Field Services
  • Artina Paris-Jones, Assistant, Field services
  • Julia Myers, Director, Resource Services
  • Karen Poppe, Tactile Graphics Project Leader, Research
  • Larry Skutchan, Technology Project Leader, Research
  • Debbie Willis, Director, Accessible Tests

Bob Brasher, Vice President, Advisory Services and Research

For additional recent APH News, click the following:

May Issue –
April Issue –
March 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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