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APH News: March 2013

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!

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

APH TEXTBOOKS: Did you know?

Did you know that textbooks from APH are available in a variety of formats?

Braille Textbooks are available in the following formats:

  • Hard copy braille
  • Downloadable braille-ready files (.BRF) from the APH File Repository that are ready to be embossed at your location

Large Print Textbooks are available in even more formats:

  • Hard copy large print
  • Downloadable digital files to be used on computers, iPads, Book Port Plus and other digital players
  • Downloadable digital files with image descriptions

Check out all the options by visiting the Accessible Textbook Department or calling 1-800-223-1839. Order your textbooks now for timely delivery for the upcoming school year!

Field Evaluators Needed!

Quick & Easy Expanded Core Curriculum: The Hatlen Center Guide

APH is currently seeking field evaluators for Quick & Easy Expanded Core Curriculum: The Hatlen Center Guide authored by Patricia Maffei. Ideal field evaluators are Teachers of Students with Visual Impairments and/or Orientation and Mobility Specialists working directly with transition-aged youth in a mainstream setting. The guide contains over 100 lessons that address the most common gaps found with this population and that require very little time or equipment to implement. It is the intent of the guide to have the student, the family, and educational team work together as partners to address the needs outlined in the Expanded Core Curriculum. The guide is complemented by a checklist to monitor the student’s progress.

Evaluators will be asked to a) use the prototype with as many students as possible within the given timeframe, b) complete a product evaluation form, and c) report student outcome data. Field test sites will be selected based upon geographic location, type of setting, and the grade levels/ages of the students. The field test stage will extend from April through June 2013.

If you are interested in possibly serving as a field evaluator, please provide the following information: name, title, school/agency, complete contact information (phone number, mailing address, email address), expected number of students, and the educational levels/ages of your students. Send this information to Karen J. Poppe, Tactile Graphics Project Leader, email hidden; JavaScript is required, by March 8, 2013. You may also contact Karen at 502-899-2322 or 800-223-1839, ext. 322.

Orion TI-84 Plus Talking Graphing Calculator

APH is seeking field evaluators for an accessible graphing calculator. APH is working with Orbit Research and Texas Instruments to develop an accessible TI-84. The Orion TI-84 Plus Talking Graphing Calculator is a modified TI-84 Plus with a small attachment that adds accessibility and additional controls. This calculator will provide full access to all menus, expressions, text, and symbols displayed on the screen. The calculator can be connected to your computer via USB cable to print or emboss graphs and other work.

Field testing will begin in April 2013 and extend through the first of May. Evaluators must have students in Algebra I or a higher level math class. Evaluators will be asked to a) use the prototype with a student in an appropriate math class b) complete a product evaluation form, and c) join beta list serve and provide feedback.

If you are interested in serving as a field evaluator, please provide the following information: name, title, school/agency, complete contact information (phone number, mailing address, email address), and the math class in which your student is enrolled (Algebra I, Algebra II, Statistics, Calculus, other). Send this information to Jeanette Wicker (email hidden; JavaScript is required).

RIGBY! The Newest Early Braille Trade Book Series is Now Available!

The Early Braille Trade Book Series now has 76 books available at the first grade reading level. The Rigby PM Platinum (fiction) and Rigby PM (nonfiction) sets are the newest additions to the series. These leveled books provide stories with familiar concepts and reoccurring characters at an appropriate level for instructional and independent reading. The accompanying free website ( provides book summaries, as well as before-and-after reading activities for young braille readers. Use the website to match books to your student’s knowledge of braille contractions. The website also provides a connection to the Building on Patterns: Primary Literacy Program by identifying books to accompany each unit.

Final Weeks to Submit Nominations for the Hall of Fame (2013)

The Hall of Fame is still accepting nominations for 2013 induction consideration. IT’S VERY EASY. To learn the simple process for submitting a nominee to join the 50 inductees, please visit:

The nomination process will close March 29, 2013.

"The Hall of Fame for Leaders and Legends of the Blindness Field is dedicated to preserving, honoring, and promoting the tradition of excellence manifested by the specific individuals inducted into the Hall of Fame and through the history of outstanding services provided to people who are blind or visually impaired."

Kentucky Students are Super Heroes at the Regional Braille Challenge!

Thirty-three of Kentucky’s finest students met at the Kentucky School for the Blind and at APH on February 21, 2013, to participate in the 3rd Kentucky Regional Braille Challenge. The Braille Challenge, a national program of the Braille Institute of America, celebrates braille literacy and braille readers through a series of competitions in spelling, proofreading, speed and accuracy, reading comprehension and interpreting charts and graphs.

While students competed, parents and teachers met with Donna Brostek Lee to discuss and review ViA. ViA is an iPad application that is the result of a partnership between APH and Braille Institute of America. Also on hand was an exhibit of some of the latest and greatest APH products for parents and teachers to peruse.

In a surprise appearance, the “Braille-a-nator” urged competitors to do their best and embrace the super power of braille! Students competed for prizes donated by APH, HumanWare, Braille Institute, National Braille Press, and Seedlings Braille Books.

We congratulate all of the “super heroes” who competed this year. We are proud of each and every one of them. Congratulations also to Danielle Burton, the overall winner of the event; to Shane Lowe, overall winner in the reading comprehension category; and to all of our winners. We will be rooting for you to make it to the finals in Los Angeles in June!

The “Braille-a-nator”

TV interview with Janie Blome:

Sports, Sports, and More Sports

The APH Physical Education Website has a new Video page. So many of you have created great videos and posted them on YouTube. APH was so impressed that we gathered many of the videos and posted them in one quick and easy reference list. Scroll the alphabetical list and click on a link to view skateboarding, waterskiing, golf, cycling, and many more. If you play or practice a sport, click on the provided link at the top of the page and send APH your sport video for possible inclusion in the list. Play on!

APH is the Big Cheese in Wisconsin!

On February 22, Field Services Representative Kerry Isham exhibited APH products at the 2013 Wisconsin Vision Professionals Conference. The event drew 60 attendees, and APH exhibited over a half of a room of products. Participants enjoyed checking out new and tried-and-true products alike, including Tactile Town, The Best for a Nest, the Mini-Lite Box and Sense of Science Astronomy, Getting to Know You, the Number Line Device, Symbols and Meaning, Giant Textured Beads and Pattern Matching Cards, TREKS and the DRAFTSMAN.

A Statement from the APH Product Repair Department

This past year has been a challenging time for APH’s Repair Department, with many staffing changes and parts supply issues. As a result, turn-around times for repairs, particularly for braillers, has grown much longer than we would like.
While two-thirds of our repair staff now has less than a year’s experience and our quality control employee retired, all staff positions have been filled and extensive training has been given to these employees. At the same time, we have experienced lengthy delays of repair parts from our brailler manufacturer who, at this time, also repairs all Perkins/APH Braillers. Throughout this year, we have been in contact with this manufacturer about delivery of both parts and repaired Braillers.

A Plan for Improvement

APH management recently met with the manufacturer to put together a plan for improvement, and we feel reassured that they are taking the necessary steps to provide APH’s Repair Department with the steady supply of replacement parts that we need. We have already seen progress with regard to the availability of Classic and Light-Touch Brailler parts; the supply chains for specialty parts for Electric, Large-Cell, and Uni-Manual braillers are still in the works.

The management of APH’s Repair Department is committed to keeping the customer wait time on braillers to between two and four weeks. We have developed a detailed action plan to maintain the average wait time (from trustee payment approval) to approximately two weeks during most of the year and no more than one month during peak brailler repair season (summer school recess).

Since January 1, 2013, the APH Repair Department reduced the number of braillers in-house from 350 to fewer than 150; phase two is to keep it there! In addition to the two new technicians who were hired, we’ve also invested in new technology. APH is now leasing an automatic aqueous parts washer; it has not only dramatically decreased the time it takes to clean braillers, but is also more eco-friendly than the chemical solvents we used previously. We will continue to work with the manufacturer until all issues have been improved and these changes add up to shorter wait times for customers and more efficient repairs.

We thank you for your patience.

Tampa Hosts NIP on Physical Activity and Movement Education

The Florida National Instructional Partnership (NIP) event on physical activity and movement education, presented by Dr. Lauren Lieberman, was held February 10-11th in Tampa. Over 80 teachers, parents and specialists attended the two-day workshop. On the first day, children with visual impairments demonstrated APH products related to physical activity as the other participants also tried them out with simulators. The Florida Outreach Project did an amazing job creating this wonderful workshop with support from APH!

Around the House:

W. Barrett Nichols Elected Chair of APH Board of Trustees

W. Barrett Nichols

We are pleased to announce that W. Barrett Nichols was elected Chair of the APH Board of Trustees in January. Nichols was appointed to the Board in 2007. Nichols founded BSG Financial, LLC and serves as its Chief Executive Officer. He continues to serve on numerous boards of civic and charitable groups and we greatly appreciate his dedication and support of the American Printing House for the Blind. For additional information about Mr. Nichols and the entire APH Board, please visit

APH Announces New Vice President

Vicki Buns

APH is very pleased to introduce our Vice President of Human Resources, Vicki Buns. Buns joined APH in 2010 as Human Resources Director. She is a graduate of Eastern Kentucky University, and had previous HR experience in manufacturing and healthcare industries with McDonalds distribution, Wyandot Snack Foods, and Kindred Healthcare. Her diverse and extensive background in the various processes of human resources, from labor and employee relations to compliance and training, have served APH well. Buns was promoted to Vice President at the APH Board of Trustees meeting in January. Congratulations Ms. Buns!

APH Gets New Faces in Research and Public Affairs Departments!

Li Zhou

Rob Guillen

Please join APH in welcoming our newest project leader, Li Zhou! Dr. Zhou comes to APH with seven years experience as a teacher of students the visual impairments. Most recently, he has been performing post-doctorate work at Mississippi State University. Li will focus on core curriculum product development. Welcome to APH, Li!

The Public Affairs Department is pleased to announce that we have a new addition to our team: Rob Guillen. Rob, who has a strong background in education and communications, started work on February 11, 2013. His most recent position was with the University of Louisville’s Esktrom Library. He will give tours and work on projects in various other areas of the department including government relations, the InSights Art Competition, and public relations.

From the Field:

Calling All Inventors and Entrepreneurs: It’s time to apply for MassChallenge 2013!

The Perkins Assistive Technology Prize provides $25,000 in grants to entrepreneurs around the world whose products or services focus on improving opportunities and quality of life for people with disabilities. It’s part of MassChallenge 2013 and aims to promote Perkins’ mission to empower individuals with disabilities to reach their personal potential. The early bird application deadline is March 6, 2013. All other entrants must apply by April 3, 2013.

Apply online at the Perkins website!

NFB to Award 30 Scholarships in 2013

The National Federation of the Blind is now accepting applications to their national scholarship program from freshmen beginning college this fall on up through graduate students. The 30 scholarships range in value from $3,000 up to $12,000, and include a trip to Orlando this July for the world’s largest convention for the blind. Applications must be received by March 31, 2013.

To learn more and to apply, please visit

BANA to Meet at Library of Congress in April

The Braille Authority of North America (BANA), which meets face-to-face semiannually, will hold its 2013 spring meeting on April 11-13 in Washington, D.C. This meeting is hosted by the National Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS), a BANA member organization. Meetings on April 11 and 12 will take place in the Madison Building at the Library of Congress. Meetings on Saturday, April 13, including an Open Forum, will be held at the Arlington Public Library, 1015 N. Quincy Street, Arlington, VA 22201.

As always, interested parties are invited to observe the BANA Board meetings. Items on the Board’s agenda include reports from all of BANA’s technical committees such as music, formats, and tactile graphics. In-depth reports will be presented by the BANA Bylaws Committee as well as the Unified English Braille (UEB) Task Force. To learn the process required to conform with special security requirements and procedures for entry to federal buildings and to reserve a seat as an observer, please contact BANA Chair Frances Mary D’Andrea at email hidden; JavaScript is required.

BANA will host an Open Forum that provides a venue for participants to ask questions and discuss braille with the Board and to learn more about the workings of BANA. Members of the BANA Board will share plans for the transition to UEB and encourages participants to share their views and suggestions surrounding braille and its future. Braille readers, teachers, students as well as producers and distributors of braille are encouraged to take advantage of this opportunity to participate in a round-table discussion with the members of the BANA Board. The Open Forum will be held from 10:30 A.M to 12:00 noon at the Arlington Public Library, with a meet-and-greet time and snacks at 10:00 A.M. To reserve your space at the Open Forum and to help ensure accurate counts for handouts, contact Frances Mary D’Andrea at email hidden; JavaScript is required.

Have you heard of APH’s Soft Snap Puzzles?

Soft Snap Puzzles are designed to enhance the TADPOLE program, but they’re great with any assessment or play-coaching for young children—especially those with multiple disabilities.

Each puzzle shows an image of a common object taken from Tasha Tadpole’s Puzzle Book, affixed to a firm, yet spongy foam. Many children who are tactually defensive will be able to use the smooth Soft Snap Puzzles. Each puzzle is made of six, large foam pieces housed within a spongy frame. Each is simple, colorful, and easy to see.

Soft Snap Puzzles can help teach:

  • parts of a whole
  • visual closure
  • shape discrimination
  • eye hand coordination
  • figure ground discrimination
  • scanning
  • object identification
  • crossing midline plane

Using Soft Snap Puzzles will:

  1. Add new interest to the ToAD or TADPOLE kits.
  2. Introduce a new and engaging activity to students’ routines.
  3. Provide a new tool to build visual and perceptual skills.
  4. Provide pleasing, smooth texture for students who are tactually defensive.
  5. Offer new opportunities for co-operative play among students.
  6. Save teachers time spent to develop a new toy or testing tool.
  7. Be fun, fun, fun!

Oldies but Goodies: The "Established" APH Product Series

The Analog Clock Model helps teach about time-telling concepts. It has braille and raised large print markings and hands that are easily rotated. This clock has no motor. Teachers and students can easily rotate the hands of the clock which are synchronized like those of an actual clock.

To help reinforce concepts of time, you can also use the Clock Face Sheets in Braille. Each sheet contains four embossed braille clock faces. Hands can be added to these blank clock faces using a variety of methods. The worksheets can be used for both instruction and assessment purposes.

Kristie Smith-Armand has written an article entitled Time Passages for Children Who are Blind that provides some teaching suggestions using these, and other, materials. This article is featured in the Fred’s Head blog, an APH resource that contains many tips, techniques, tutorials, in-depth articles, and resources such as this that are written for and by blind or visually impaired people. We encourage you to explore the blog for more useful information.

If you have any suggestions for other products you would like to see highlighted in this monthly feature, please send your comments to Monica Turner at email hidden; JavaScript is required.

Treasures From the APH Libraries

The APH Barr Library supports research initiatives at APH, while the Migel Library is one of the largest collections of nonmedical information related to blindness in the world. Although the collections do not circulate, arrangements can be made to use the materials on-site. In addition, an ongoing digitization effort means APH will continue to make materials available through the online catalog at

Three of the many "Treasures from the APH Libraries" are described below.

From the Migel Library: Sawyer, Caroline M. The History of the Blind Vocalists. New York: J.W. Harrison, 1853.

Recently digitized for the Migel Library’s Internet Archive page (, this concise work is mainly intended to be an informational publication on The Blind Vocalists—a quartette who performed concerts in the state of New York in the 1850s. Detailed biographical sketches of each member of the group are presented, in addition to a collection of press appearances and correspondence concerning the group. The work was created with great care, and much additional information is gathered in the book. It begins with two printed illustrations of a slate and writing card used by the blind during the time period. A tactile title page is included, and is followed by examples of tactile maps and illustrations. “The Prayer of the Blind” and the poem “The Blind Orphan Girl” are also included, along with an 1845 summary of the Annual Report of the New York institution of the Blind. The information comes together in a way that presents an interesting representation of the time.

From the Migel Library: Argo: Rivista Bimensile. Vol. 1-8. Unione Italiana Ciechi, 1929-1940. Firenze.

As part of a project to digitize all of the eligible periodicals in the Migel Library, a journal called Argo has been digitized at the Internet Archive. Published in Florence by the Italian Blind Union, Argo has so far been found in only 3 other libraries, all of which are in Italy. It has already become one of the Migel Library’s highest circulating items at the Internet Archive, with 2,205 downloads. Each volume has remained in the top 5 “Most Downloaded Items Last Week” category at since digitization.

From the Barr Library: "Books for Readers Without Sight: A Salute to American Printing House for the Blind." American Junior Red Cross 50.1 (1968): 12-14.

Taken from a periodical intended for a young audience, "Books for Readers Without Sight" presents a short photo essay about the production of braille and talking books at APH circa 1968. The recording and editing of talking books, along with phonograph cutting and pressing, are all represented in the essay. Braille editors, stenographers, and proofreaders are also shown, along with the coalition of braille pages. A "new" computerized system is demonstrated, involving the feeding of punch cards into a 1964 braille translation computer. And the familiar "Mr. Swiss" Bobst Rotary Press, currently in APH’s "The Way We Worked" exhibit, is shown in action producing braille.

APH is working with the Lyrasis Consortium and 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

APH Technology Group Captivates Conference Attendees in Orlando

Famed phenom student from Nebraska, Chase Crispin, accompanied the APH technology group to the Assistive Technology Industry Association conference held in Orlando in January. He gave a presentation describing his use of APH products, especially the Braille Plus 18 and Book Port DT. His presentation highlighted the ways in which the products provide him with the tools he needs to be successful in his work as a high school student.

Chase demonstrated how he scans documents and turns them into braille and speech on the fly; how he uses the “email client” to communicate with his teachers; how he uses the Word Processor to take notes and produce papers; and how the Book Port DT provides him with the ability to create Digital Talking Book (DTB) recordings and access newspapers from his hometown with the Daisy Online feature.

Chase made a video that describes some uses of the Braille Plus 18. Here’s the link to it on his YouTube page:

It was a well attended session, and Chase did a great job. Thanks, Chase.

New Products Announced in February Now Live on Shopping Site

Take a second look at the February issue of the APH News—several of our great new products announced in this issue now are now live on our shopping site!

Coming This Fall: The World’s First Fully-Accessible Handheld Graphing Calculator!

Coming for the fall 2013 school year: A specially adapted version of the Texas Instruments TI-84 Plus calculator will transform STEM education for students who are blind and visually impaired!

Orbit Research and APH have announced the introduction of the Orion TI-84 Plus, the world’s first fully accessible handheld graphing calculator. Based on the popular TI-84 Plus model from Texas Instruments, the Orion TI-84 Plus represents a breakthrough in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) education for students who are blind and visually impaired.

Building on APH’s experience in the development of educational products and Orbit Research’s expertise in adapting mainstream calculators for accessibility, and its long-term partnership with Texas Instruments, the companies collaborated to develop this unique product.

We’re also happy to announce that the Orion TI-84 Plus will be available for purchase with Federal Quota funds and will ship in time for the 2013-2014 school year!

NEW! Large Print Textbooks for Your eReader!

The Accessible Textbooks Department of APH now offers hundreds of large print textbooks for digital download! Almost 400 textbooks created using APH’s exclusive accessibility process are available for purchase through the File Repository of the Louis Database. Books are in PDF format and may be read on Kindle®, iPad®, laptop, or many other digital readers. These accessible PDF files may also be read using synthetic speech on devices that do not have as screen, such as APH’s Book Port Plus™. Find out more at the Accessible Textbooks Department website!

Deadlines Approaching! APH InSights Art Competition 2013

Visually impaired and blind artists of all ages are invited to submit artwork for our twenty-second annual international art competition, APH InSights 2013. Artists may enter original artwork created in any medium, including (but not limited to) painting, drawing, printmaking, fiber, metal, or wood.

Enter soon! For students in kindergarten through high school, entries much reach APH by March 25. For adult artists, entries much reach us by April 1.

If you have questions, please contact Roberta Williams at 502-899-2357 or email hidden; JavaScript is required to receive a copy of the rules and application forms by email, or a hard copy in print or braille.

Learn About Many Products Via Our Website

On the APH Product Information page we offer three different ways to learn about selected APH products: videos, webcasts, and PowerPoints. Find out how APH products can help you, your students, or your clients with multimedia presentations on such items as Book Port DT, Braille Plus 18, Azer’s Periodic Table, MathBuilders, and many more!

Social Media Spotlight

The New York Times Blog—February 4: Scarlet Fever Probably Didn’t Blind Mary Ingalls
NYT blog article:

Credited source of information? The APH Museum!

"Like" APH at Our Facebook Page!

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

APH Welcomes New Ex Officio Trustee

Maria del Carmen Cruz Davita, the Puerto Rico Department of Education, replacing Enid Diaz.

APH Travel Calendar

on the road with APH


March 4, 2013
Overbrook School for the Blind;
Philadelphia, PA

March 6-9, 2013
XXVI-International Preschool Seminar Group Meeting;
Albuquerque, NM

March 13, 2013
NIP Event: “Getting to Know You” with Nita Crow and Stephanie Herlich;
Cadiz, KY

March 13-15, 2013
KAER 2013 Annual Conference;
Cadiz, KY

March 14-17, 2013
CTEBVI 2013 Conference (California Transcribers & Educators for the Blind & Visually Impaired);
Burlingame, CA

March 21 – 22, 2013
DC/MD AER Chapter Annual Conference;
Ocean City, MD

March 21-22, 2013
NIP Event: Overview of Math Tools, Materials, and Technology with Susan Osterhaus;
Ocean City, MD

March 22, 2013
West Virginia Braille Challenge;
Romney, WV

March 23, 2013
Books-a-Million Exhibition;
Louisville, KY

March 23-24, 2013
MACRT Board Meeting;
St. Louis, MO


April 3-6, 2013
CEC 2013;
San Antonio, TX

April 6, 2013
Arizona Foundation for the Blind Workshop;
Phoenix, AZ

April 9, 2013
CIP Event – University of Arizona;
Tuscon, AZ

April 12-13, 2013
NFB Tactile Graphics Conference;
Baltimore, MD

April 18-20, 2013
AFB Leadership Conference 2013;
Chicago, IL

April 18-20, 2013
NBA 2013 Spring Professional Development Conference (National Braille Association);
Gaithersburg, Maryland

April 20, 2013
NIP Event – APH Intervention Continuum;
Santa Ana, CA

April 21-23, 2013
Charting the Cs: 5th Annual Cross-Categorical Conference;
Alexandria, MN

April 23-26, 2013
Outreach Forum;
Huntsville, AL

April 24-26, 2013
NCSAB (National Council for State Administrators for the Blind);
Bethesda, MD

April 24-26, 2013
Penn-Del AER 2013;
Harrisburg, PA

April 25-27, 2013
AOTA 2013;
San Diego, CA


May 8-10, 2013
NIP Event: CVI with Chris Roman at Dakota AER;
Grand Forks, ND

May 13, 2013
New Hampshire TVI Training: Braille Plus 18 and Refreshabraille 18;
Concord, NH


June 4, 2013
NIP: APH Intervention Continuum with Millie Smith;
St. Simon’s Island, GA

June 6-9, 2013
Family Café;
Orlando, FL

June 11-13, 2013
Texas AT Network Conference;
Houston, TX

June 14-15, 2013
DE Deaf/Blind Program SAM Workshop;
Rehoboth Beach, DE

June 27-30, 2013
Visions 2013;
Baltimore, MD

APH Winter Wonderland Sale

Load up a world of savings on selected APH products with APH’s Winter Wonderland Sale 2013, January 1—March 31. As always, first come, first served.

APH Discontinuing Repair of the Table-Top Cassette Tape Recorder

Effective April 1, 2013, APH will no longer be able to repair our Table-Top Cassette Tape Recorder/Player due to the lack of parts availability. We will make every effort to repair units sent to us up until April 1. We appreciate your understanding.

New Downloadable Manuals Available

Get the manual you need instantly! APH offers a selected list of product manuals available for free download ( You may print or emboss these as needed. We will continue to package hard copies of these manuals with their products and sell hard copy replacements.

Newly added manuals:

  • Teaching the Student with a Visual Impairment: Materials Pack (1-08290-01)
  • Number Line Device Manual: Braille (61-267-034) and Print (61-267-033)
  • Touch ’em All Baseball Manual, Braille (5-08101-00)

NEW! Nearby Explorer™—Available on Quota!

Note: see the end of this listing for special ordering instructions.

An Android app that empowers the user to independently explore, discover, and enjoy their neighborhood and beyond with poise and confidence!

APH is excited to announce our first individually-sold mobile application for Android! We offer a number of applications bundled as a part of our popular Android-based Braille Plus 18™ mobile manager, including Nearby Explorer. Now you can purchase this powerful location exploration app separately for use on your Android phone!

Use Nearby Explorer to explore and navigate independently as you walk or ride in a vehicle. It includes built-in maps covering millions of points of interest in the United States and Canada. You can also add your own points of interest. Nearby Explorer uses GPS and your phone’s compass to speak real-time information about your surroundings. It also displays maps on the screen.

Independently Sense Your Surroundings

Nearby Explorer makes independent travel for blind pedestrians and passengers efficient, informative, and fun! It includes surrounding and approaching streets, businesses, institutions, and public facilities; and continually updates distance and direction to the nearest point or to a selected point. It enables the blind passenger in a vehicle to aid the driver with directions and suggestions. All announcements are optional, so you control how much information Nearby Explorer is giving you.

GeoBeam Feature

Since your Android device knows your current location and the location of places of interest around you, you can point your device toward features in your environment and receive feedback about them. Think of this feature as a virtual "beam" emitting from the end of your device that "scans" your environment! The GeoBeam feature requires a device with a compass.

Some of the many uses of Nearby Explorer

  • Increases awareness of your exact position by announcing the street and address number of your current position and keeping you updated with movement.
  • Increases your sense of distance by updating distances to selected places as you walk.
  • Improves spatial awareness by looking ahead and announcing the distance and direction of upcoming streets.
  • Improves knowledge of your surroundings by showing the distance, direction, name, and address of the nearest place either in the built-in maps or in places set by you.
  • Increases flexibility by discovering the surrounding streets with the compass that engages when you orient the device vertically. Announces the next street and its distance and direction where the compass is pointed.
  • Improves orientation to surrounding businesses by letting you point to a marked location and providing vibrating & auditory feedback.
  • Guides the user to a selected destination and provides a list of directions to a selected destination.
  • Search for places, streets, and addresses.
  • Explore the map by intersections, all streets, or all streets from 1 or 10 miles away.
  • Shows the direction you’re heading ("North," "Southeast," etc.) and your speed.
  • Tracks a selected place and provides the distance and direction to get there.

Note: Street addresses are approximate relative to your position. They are calculated using a relative distance from the beginning to the end of a block, so house numbers may not be exact.

Requirements to Run

Nearby Explorer requires an Android device with the following:

  • Android 2.2 or higher
  • Android mobile device with GPS enabled
  • At least 3 GB of free memory for locally stored maps

Note: A built-in compass is not required, but will add additional functionality.


  • When walking, Nearby Explorer should be used along with a human guide, dog guide, or cane because does not provide sufficient information to act as a substitute for your preferred O&M method.
  • When using Nearby Explorer to assist a driver in navigating, please ensure that the driver is paying attention to the actual streets, as the mapping information in Nearby Explorer may be somewhat out of date.

To Order

Nearby Explorer is available for purchase in two ways:

  • Via the APH File Repository, a part of APH’s Louis Database
  • Via the Google Play site

Note: This app cannot be purchased directly from the APH shopping site.

To Purchase from the APH File Repository:

Note: Nearby Explorer is available with Federal Quota funds! All Quota purchases must be made via the APH File Repository, the Google Play site cannot be used for Quota purchases.

Direct link to the Nearby Explorer app in the APH File Repository:,142793.aspx?FormatFilter=8

For general information about registering and purchasing files from the APH File Repository, please visit:

To Purchase from the Google Play Application site:

(cannot use Quota funds through Google Play)

Direct link to the Nearby Explorer app in Google Play:

For general information about registering and purchasing files from Google Play, please visit:

NEW! Paint Pot Pallet Kit: Creating Art Through Touch

1-03933-00 — $51.00

Enjoy learning and exploring the art of painting!

Paint Pot Palette kit includes a set of custom-made, whimsical drawings by San Francisco artist Debi Harrison titled Color SENSEation. The pictures are printed and embossed on heavy paper; each picture is titled in print and braille. The embossed lines make it easy to trace the subjects with the fingers and then follow with a crayon or paint brush—this makes it easier for beginning artists to learn to color and paint.

Paint Pot Palette, when used with Color SENSEation:

  • Teaches color concepts
  • Encourages visual and tactile exploration
  • Teaches shape recognition
  • Provides braille practice
  • Develops fine motor skills
  • Promotes individual expression
  • Encourages social engagement

Paint Pot Palette kit includes:

  • Palette
  • 4 Paint pots
  • 4 Brushes (two round and two flat)
  • Water cup
  • 9 braille tiles (one is blank)
  • Watercolor paint (1 tube each of red, blue, yellow, black, and white)
  • Coloring pages (Color SENSEation)
  • Stir stick

Paint Pot Palette is a collaboration between PlayAbility Toys™ and APH. Replacement parts are available from PlayAbility Toys.

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

REVISED! Transition Tote System: "Navigating the Rapids of Life"

Large Print Kit: 1-08210-00 — $239.00

Optional Items

Student Manual, Braille: 5-08210-00 — $99.00
Facilitator’s Guide, Braille: 5-08211-00 — $85.00

Replacement Items

Student Manual, Large Print: 7-08210-00 — $83.00
Facilitator’s Guide, Large Print: 7-08211-00 — $85.00
Braille and Large Print Forms: 7-08212-00 — $12.00
Transition Tote Backpack: 1-08211-00 — $68.00

This revised kit adds seven new lessons and includes APH’s custom-designed Transition Tote Backpack.

Transition Tote materials teach middle school, secondary, and transition students with visual impairments essential skills for learning about themselves and the world of work. This includes seeking, obtaining, and keeping jobs. In addition to seven new lessons and the custom designed backpack, this kit includes updated descriptions of technology, revised resource and reference materials, and an updated Facilitator’s Guide.

New lessons include:

  • Feedback From Others
  • Comprehensive Self-Analysis Report
  • Discrepancy Analysis (strengths and weaknesses)
  • Vocational Action Plan
  • Answering Employers’ Concerns
  • Making Friends of Coworkers
  • Resolving Conflicts

Large print kit includes:

  • Student Manual in large print, audio CDs, and electronic format
  • Facilitator’s Guide in large print, audio CDs, and electronic format
  • Transition Tote Backpack
  • Clipboard
  • Package of Print/Braille forms

Braille materials and other items sold separately include:

  • Student Manual (3 volumes) in braille, audio CDs, and electronic format
  • Facilitator’s Guide (2 volumes) in braille, audio CDs, and electronic format
  • Transition Tote Backpack
  • Clipboard (replacement part)
  • Package of Print/Braille forms

NEW! Everybody Plays! How Kids With Visual Impairments Play Sports

Braille/CD: 5-13095-00 — $29.00
Large Print/CD: 7-13095-00 — $59.00

Everybody Plays! is a fun storybook written by Cindy Lou Aillaud and Lauren Lieberman that follows an elementary school-age child to a sports camp for children who have visual impairment, blindness, or deafblindness. Written at a 4th grade reading level, readers learn about sports and recreational physical activities that are enjoyed universally and about specific sports designed for persons with visual impairment and blindness.

The young storyteller describes how sport modifications and equipment adaptations help the campers have a blast when they learn about sports and play with new friends and coaches. Young readers learn about Paralympic sports and are encouraged to identify the Paralympic sports that the storyteller experiences while at camp.

Each sport and recreational activity has a Listen Up! page that introduces the sports novice to each sport or activity. If a reader does not need the detailed explanation of a particular activity, the print, braille, and electronic books are designed so the Listen Up! pages can be skipped.

NEW! Little Breath of Wind

6-77950-00 — $ 149.00

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

Tactile illustrated books offer a bridge, helping a young child take a more active role in book-reading, as a listener and as a beginning reader. The Little Breath of Wind storybook features charming text and tactile illustrations that invite exploration, using a variety of richly textured, collaged fabrics and raised lines of thick, soft yarn. It tells the story of a "breath of wind" that begins its journey blowing across a meadow of soft grass, tickling the leaves of a tree, until it arrives "at my ear…to tell a story, a voyage of adventure."

The young child moves his or her fingers along the lines of yarn following Little Breath of Wind across each illustrated page. The book’s text is provided in large print and uncontracted braille. Originally produced in Italian and French, the English version is produced for APH by Les Doigts Qui Rêvent (LDQR) workshop in Dijon, France.

Visual illustrations in children’s books play a number of important roles, helping young readers to:

  • Actively explore and relate text and illustrations to gain a fuller appreciation of a book’s meaning
  • Talk about the illustrations, promoting oral language skills underlying literacy
  • Gain basic skills needed to examine and interpret tactile displays
  • Use tactile illustrations as a guide to pretend read or to fill in words he or she is not yet able to read

NEW! Test Ready: Plus Reading: Book 7

Teacher Guide:
Braille Edition: 5-00529-00 — $18.00
Large Print Edition: 7-00529-00 — $18.00

Student Book:
Braille Edition: 5-00530-00 — $46.00
Large Print Edition: 7-00530-00 — $35.00

Note: Each Teacher Guide includes a Teacher CD-ROM. Each Student Book includes a Student CD-ROM.

This test prep series offers practice for today’s standards-based assessments for grade levels 3 through 12. Test Ready®: Plus Reading provides preparation and review, in as little as two weeks before testing day. It also provides a program of instruction and remediation.

Students practice test-taking skills for:

  • Recalling information
  • Constructing meaning
  • Evaluating literary forms
  • Interpreting fact & opinion
  • Evaluating & extending meaning

Test Ready: Plus Reading is a review program that provides practice in test-taking skills in reading comprehension and open-ended writing tasks.

In just 14 days, students can be test ready with:

  • Timed pretest to diagnose skills gaps
  • Standards-based skill-specific lessons
  • Timed mixed-practice post-test, mirroring pretest to show growth

Accessible Formats

The APH Teacher Guides and Student Books are available in several accessible formats, so that the entire class can work on reading together in a multi-media approach. The large print and braille editions include a CD with an .html file and a Digital Talking Book (DTB) file with built-in player.

The large print student edition includes a specially formatted large print answer document. However, it is recommended that each student have a book in his or her preferred reading medium, and should feel free to mark answers in the test books. Used this way, the student books become consumable items.

Note: Copies of regular print Teacher Guides and Student Books are available from the publisher at: Curriculum Associates, Inc., 153 Rangeway Road, North Billerica, MA 01862-0901, 800-225-0248, Fax: 800-366-1158,

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.

Dizzy Dinosaurs: Silly Dino Poems
edited by Lee Bennett Hopkins: T-N1938-80 — $13.50
Nineteen short poems about different dinosaurs. "School Rules" warns dinosaurs not to eat their classmates. "Oops!" finds Carcharodontosaurus upset when his tooth pops out. Includes a guide to pronouncing dinosaur names. Grades K-3. *(AR Quiz No. 143171, BL 3.3, Pts. 0.5)

Moon Over Manifest
by Clare Vanderpool: T-N1918-90 — $74.00
Twelve-year-old Abilene Tucker is the daughter of a drifter who, in the summer of 1936, sends her to stay with an old friend in Manifest, Kansas, where he grew up, and where she hopes to find out some things about his past. Grades 4-8. *(AR Quiz No. 140091, BL 5.3 Pts. 12.0)

Undaunted By Blindness

by Clifford E. Olstrom: T-N1918-50 — $93.50
Director of the Tampa Lighthouse for the Blind presents four hundred capsule biographies of notable blind people in various occupations and from different historical periods. Includes profiles of Irish composer Torlogh Carolan (1670-1738), American publisher Joseph Pulitzer (1847-1911), and Cuban ballerina Alicia Alonso (b. 1921).

I Am Legend
by Richard Matheson: T-N1920-40 — $91.00
Robert Neville may well be the last living man on Earth… but he is not alone. An incurable plague has mutated every other man, woman, and child into bloodthirsty, nocturnal creatures who are determined to destroy him. Adult Reader. Some violence and strong language.

Mountolive: The Alexandria Quartet, Book 3
by Lawrence Durrell: T-N1869-00 — 95.00
British diplomat David Mountolive provides another perspective on the events and characters of Justine and Balthazar revealing new motivations for the actions of the Coptic Nessim, his Jewish wife Justine, and others. Adult Reader.

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

APH News Credits

Dr. Tuck Tinsley

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
  • Jack Decker, Vice President, Production
  • Kerry Isham, Field Services Representative
  • Elaine Kitchel, Low Vision Project Leader, Research
  • Stephanie Lancaster, Graphic Designer, Communications
  • Mary Nelle McLennan, APH Representative to BANA
  • Tristan Pierce, Multiple Disabilities Project Leader, Research
  • Terrie Terlau, Adult Life Project Leader, Research
  • Jane Thompson, Director, Accessible Textbooks
  • Monica Turner, Field Services Representative
  • Monica Vaught, Consultant, Research
  • Jeanette Wicker, Core Curriculum Consultant, Research

Bob Brasher, Vice President, Advisory Services and Research

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The APH News is a monthly publication from the American Printing House for the Blind:
1839 Frankfort Avenue
Louisville, KY 40206

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