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APH News March 2003

Your monthly link to the latest information on APH products, services, and training opportunities.

Congratulations to APH Staff Award Winner

Ron Gadsdon

We congratulate Ron Gadson, APH Maintenance Division Manager, as the first recipient of the APH President’s Award. In his remarks, Dr. Tinsley said, "Ron energizes the people around him with his enthusiasm, and he is always there to lend support and comfort in difficult times." Ron is great to work with and all of the staff at APH applaud his selection!

Federal Quota Training Attracts 10 States to APH

Attendees of the FQ/SRS Training

Photo: Attendees of the FQ/SRS Training

The Federal Quota/Student Registration System Training event, held February 24-25 in Louisville, was a huge success! Representatives from Alabama, Delaware, Georgia, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Mexico, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wyoming were with us. Some states had multiple accounts represented.

The fourteen attendees, who came prepared to learn, provided information that will help APH make their jobs easier in the future. It quickly became apparent that this sort of training is extremely beneficial to all involved. Event coordinator Karen Blaker wishes to thank all of the attendees as well as the Ex Officio Trustees who made it possible for them to come.

Be looking for another Federal Quota/SRS Training event in the future!

Federal Quota Census DUE March 15th!

The deadline approaches! If you haven’t sent in your census information, don’t be surprised to receive a call during the first two weeks in March from Karen Blaker or Cindy Amback asking how things are going. Karen and Cindy will be handing out friendly little nudges to remind you that March 15th is right around the corner. We are adhering to deadlines very closely this year and need your cooperation to make it happen.

Congress Provides APH with FY2003 Appropriation

We are delighted to announce that in early February, Congress passed the fiscal year 2003 federal budget, and APH was awarded $15.5 million. After an "across the board" reduction of .65%, the final amount of the APH appropriation for 2003 is roughly $15.4 million ($15,399.250). Per capita allocations have not yet been determined. APH Ex Officio Trustees will be notified as soon as the numbers have been finalized.

Accessible Textbook Initiative and Collaboration (ATIC) is accepting textbook orders for school year 2003-2004. Please contact Jean Moore at email hidden; JavaScript is required or call 800/223-1839, ext. 371 ASAP! Thanks.

Vision Loss in the 21st Century

Swimmin’ pools… stars….in the hills of Beverly.

Star Struck APHers, Gary Mudd and Bob Brasher, hobnob with Connie Stevens, noted entertainer and business woman, at the opening session.

Photo: Star Struck APHers, Gary Mudd and Bob Brasher, hobnob with Connie Stevens, noted entertainer and business woman, at the opening session.

A number of APH staff enjoyed a spectacular conference in California, February 19-22, hosted by AFB and the Foundation for the Junior Blind. APH President Dr. Tuck Tinsley served as co-chair of the Education Strand with AFB Vice President Dr. Susan Spungin. APH staffers presented and moderated sessions, and displayed APH products.

Opening Session Keynote Speaker Maya Angelou, introduced by Quincy Jones, set the tone for this memorable conference.

Picture Maker Survey

APH is always interested in receiving feedback from teachers, students, and clients who are using our educational products. If you have used the Picture Maker: Wheatley Tactile Diagramming Kit and would like to comment on its usefulness, or suggest possibilities for additional components, please complete the form posted on the APH web site.

The direct link is—Please share this link with other educators, rehabilitation personnel, students, and consumers who might have valuable information to share regarding this kit.

If you would like to receive a hardcopy of the survey, please contact Karen Poppe, Tactile Graphics Project Leader, at 800/223-1839, ext. 322 or email hidden; JavaScript is required. Your input is very important to us and will guide our future updates and accessories to the kit.

Kentucky Correctional Institution for Women (KCIW) "Foxy Dots" Braille Services

Gary Mudd, APH Vice President of Public Affairs, answers questions from an inmate at KCIW regarding braille formatting.

Photo: Gary Mudd, APH Vice President of Public Affairs, answers questions from an inmate at KCIW regarding braille formatting.

Begun as a partnership between APH, the prison, and Kentucky Correctional Industries in 2000, the braille production team at KCIW is now working at full speed. The nine transcribers in the program are all certified in literary braille by the National Library Service (NLS). Three are working toward nemeth certification. Three inmates are also working on tactile graphics. Two additional "transcriber trainees" will be added by early April.

The "Foxy Dots" began charging for braille services in January and have already begun to cover program expenses. Look for more information in the April APH News about prison braille programs across the country. For more information, please contact Nancy Lacewell, APH Director of Government and Community Affairs, 800/223-1839, ext. 339 or

APH is Focusing on Families!

Members of the Family Focus Group

The new federal legislation, "No Child Left Behind Act," stresses the involvement and empowerment of parents and families. On February 9-11, APH hosted a dynamic focus group to assist us in identifying appropriate products and services for families to address
the developmental and learning needs of their children. Dr. Tuck Tinsley, President of APH, conducted an activity which identified a number of possible next steps, including the development of a needs survey, materials describing vision loss, and a curriculum using developmental milestones.

The focus group, which included parents as well as professionals, was excited about possible partnerships and collaborative efforts between organizations to address the needs of families. There will be much more information to share concerning family education in the future—stay tuned!!

Time to Show Your Art

Artists who are legally blind are invited to submit artwork for the twelfth annual international art competition, APH InSights, 2003.

Last year nearly 500 entries were received. From that number, jurors selected eighty-three pieces that were shown in Louisville at the October meeting of Ex Officio Trustees. The exhibition is viewable on the APH web site:

Artists may enter artwork created in any visual art medium, including (but not limited to), painting, drawing, printmaking, fiber, metal, or wood. Award winners receive a cash award and a ribbon. They are invited to come to Louisville to receive their awards at a special banquet hosted during the October meeting of Ex Officio Trustees. Last year, thirteen award-winners attended the award presentation. (Note that while APH cannot pay the full travel cost of those attending, a stipend to assist with travel is available.)

There are two deadlines this year. April 1 is the deadline for entries from preschool through high school and April 15 is the deadline for entries from adult artists. Rules and entry forms are posted with the 2002 exhibition on the web site under the area called "Perspectives." Artists may also contact APH now to request a print or braille copy of the entry form and rules of the competition: 800/223-1839, ext. 357 or email hidden; JavaScript is required.

Development Strategies for CVI

The APH Educational Research Department and Dr. Christine Roman, of Marshall University, met last month to discuss and create an outline for the development of products to specifically serve a growing population diagnosed with neurological or cortical visual impairment (often referred to as CVI).

The group designed a matrix demonstrating education, assessment, and intervention across three phases of CVI: building visual behavior, integrating vision and function, and resolution.

The group then determined the first priorities to be the production of an educational DVD, an assessment DVD for training, an assessment screening tool, and a CVI starter kit. Many other products were discussed and have been placed on a products initiative list.

The group cross-referenced the matrix and all potential products with the recommended proposals made by the CVI Synergy Focus Group that met at APH last May.

Second Test Central Council Meeting

Test Central Council members

Photo: Test Central Council members

The 2nd meeting of the Test Central Council (TCC) was held at APH on Feb. 6-7. Dr. Carol Allman, a member of both the TCC and TC Core Team, facilitated the meeting.

Recommendations of this meeting conclude that TC should:

  • Conduct research on tactile graphics, large print, and universal design issues related to test and assessment.
  • Develop recommendations for states to consider when establishing test contracts.
  • Develop and maintain an adapted test item data bank.
  • Promote the need for blind and visually impaired students to be included in the pilot test phase of test development and the availability of practice materials in accessible media.

Conserving the Callahan Museum Collections

Patrick Rice, metals conservator, advises on care of metal artifacts in the Callahan Museum collection with Anne Rich, Museum Assistant.

Photo: Patrick Rice, metals conservator, advises on care of metal artifacts in the Callahan Museum collection with Anne Rich, Museum Assistant.

The recent completion of our state-of-the-art collections storage room marks a major step in fulfilling our mission of preserving the historical collections of the Callahan Museum for future generations. The museum collection is comprised of artifacts related to the educational history of blind people and archival materials from the blindness field and APH. The new collections facility has temperature and humidity control and storage furniture that meets the highest conservation standards.

March Travel Calendar

On THe Road With APH

March 3-5, 2003
Focus on Success II Conference, Pierre, SD

March 5-6, 2003
An APH NIP Event
CVI: What You See is Not Always What You Get, Burlingame, CA

March 7-9, 2003
CTEVH 2003 Conference; Burlingame, CA

March 10-11, 2003
National File Format Meeting, Washington, DC

March 12-14, 2003
Blindness and Visual Impairment Workshop-VA Dept f/t B and VI and VA Dept of Education, Roanoke, VA

March 13-16, 2003
ASA (American Society on Aging) Conference; Chicago, IL

March 18-22, 2003
CSUN (CA State University at Northridge) Conference; Los Angeles, CA

March 22-25, 2003
AER Lift 2003, Washington, DC

Announcing Book Port—Coming Soon!

Book Port is a portable device designed to read electronic books to blind students and professionals. Measuring only 2.75 X 4.75 X 1, its small size, large storage capacity, and battery operation makes it the perfect hand-held device to take reading with you wherever you go. Book Port features its own high quality text-to-speech synthesizer (for reading electronic text and Web pages) and it plays digital audio files such as MP3 and Daisy Digital Talking Books.



ColorTest II

Upgraded Model!
ColorTest II: Talking Color Analyzer for People Who Are Blind or Color-blind

ColorTest II is an upgraded model of a hand-held device that helps you distinguish colors independently. It uses a clear human voice to announce the color of any object placed in contact with its sensitive detector.

Features include:

  • Senses and speaks over 1,000 nuances of color
  • Indicates patterns by a raising and lowering tone as the unit is moved over a surface
  • Talking clock, calendar, timer, thermometer, and three games
  • Earphone jack and holes to accommodate a neck loop (earphone not included)
  • Built-in rechargeable battery with talking battery status

ColorTest II: 1-03951-00 — $670.00

NEW! Student Starter Pack

APH is now offering a kit of basic braille materials packaged primarily for university students who are taking teacher training courses in vision education. The kit includes 200 sheets of 8 1/2 x 11 braille paper, 150 sheets of 11 1/2 x 11 braille paper, a slate / stylus / eraser, and a Cranmer abacus. Although originally designed for university students, this could be a great beginning-of-the-year pack for any braille student!

Student Starter Pack: 1-00350-00 — $41.00

NEW! Teaching Touch

Teaching Touch

Teaching Touch helps parents or teachers encourage young children (ages 4-7) who are blind to become active explorers and readers of tactile graphics. Written for parents, Teaching Touch uses real stories to bring important points to life.

Various skills that contribute to exploration and appreciation of tactile graphics are addressed. These include:

  • tracking
  • searching
  • verbal description
  • use of symbols

Teaching Touch includes a separate booklet that introduces the use of exercise sheets to promote tactile tracking, scanning, and comparison.

Teaching Touch Kit: 1-08861-00 — $29.00
Replacement Large Print Manual: 7-08861-00 — $9.00
Optional Braille Manual: 5-08661-00 — $12.50

NEW! ISAVE Visual Field/Acuity Grid

This grid was designed to accompany the ISAVE functional vision assessment kit. It allows the user to perform simple visual field and acuity activities with children. All the visual field and acuity activities in ISAVE that call for a transparent grid can be performed with the ISAVE Visual Field/Acuity Grid. The grid is 18 x 18 inches, clear plastic, and marked with white lines to make the grid. It stands up by itself so teachers and interventionists can remain hands-free. It can be folded and placed into its fabric-lined pouch to keep the grid from becoming smudged or scratched. The grid should not be exposed to temperatures over 85 degrees.

ISAVE Visual Field/Acuity Grid: 1-08540-00 — $49.00
ISAVE Kit: 7-96160-00 — $175.00

NEW! Bright Line Reading Guide

Bright Line Reading Guides are excellent tools for low vision readers. They can be placed over text to highlight it and eliminate glare. They also promote maximum contrast. The guides provide a black reference line that helps the reader keep his place on the page. The reading guides are 10 inches long, but can be cut to any size and may also be three-hole punched for placement in a binder. Each guide, pink or yellow, comes in a vinyl protective pouch.

Bright Line Reading Guide, Yellow: 1-03060-00 — $6.75
Bright Line Reading Guide, Pink: 1-03061-00 — $6.75

Three New Aluminum Slates!

These low-cost aluminum slates expand APH’s line of slates and come in several sizes to meet your brailling needs. Note: Not available for purchase with Quota funds.

Lightweight Aluminum Slates:
4 Lines, 28 Cells with Saddle Stylus: 1-00084-00 — $9.95
4 Lines, 37 Cells with Saddle Stylus: 1-00085-00 — $9.95
Coming Soon: 6 Lines, 19 Cells with New Flat Stylus: 1-00083-00 — $TBA

NEW! Large Print/Braille Toss-Away Ruler

Large Print/Braille Toss-Away Ruler

This ruler, with markings in both large print and in braille, is designed to be used in testing or assessment situations where an inexpensive but user-friendly measuring device is needed. These 7-inch rulers are marked with centimeters and inches and are appropriate for home, work, or school use. They are packaged in sets of 24 with 8 rulers in each of three colors: bright yellow, bright green, and orange. Printed/embossed on heavy paper with high contrast numbers.

Large Print/Braille Toss-Away Ruler (24-Pack): 1-03010-00 — $9.00
Coming Soon: Large Print Toss-Away Ruler (24-Pack): 1-03011-00 — $TBA

Compiled by: Bob Brasher, Vice President, Products and Services
Designed by: Malcolm Turner, APH Web Site Coordinator

For additional recent APH News, click the following:

February Issue –
January Issue –
December Issue –

Archive of all previous issues –

Thanks to the following APH staff members for their contributions to this effort:

  • Karen Blaker, Advisory Services Support Specialist
  • Scott Blome, Director of Communications
  • Burt Boyer, Field Services Representative
  • Nancy Lacewell, Director, Government and Community Affairs
  • Gary Mudd, Vice President, Public Affairs
  • Artina Paris, Advisory Services Assistant
  • Tristan Pierce, Project Leader, Multiple Disabilities
  • Karen Poppe, Tactile Graphics Project Leader
  • Larry Skutchan, Project Leader, Technology
  • Carol Tobe, Director, APH Callahan Museum
  • Roberta Williams, Public Affairs and Special Projects Manager