Visit Our House!

APH Logo

APH News May 2003

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

Dr. Kent Cullers to Share Journey

Dr. Kent Cullers

Dr. Kent Cullers is scheduled as the keynote speaker for APH’s 135th Annual Meeting of Ex Officio Trustees and Guests, October 16-18, 2003, at the Camberley Brown Hotel, in Louisville, Kentucky.

Kent Cullers has been involved in the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) since 1980, the year he received his Ph.D. in Physics from the University of California at Berkeley. He received the NASA Exceptional Engineering Achievement Medal in 1993, and was named the 1994 Federal Employee of the Year. Cullers currently works for the SETI Institute in Mountain View, California, where he is Director for SETI Research and Development. He’s been called the world’s first blind physicist.

This year’s Annual Meeting theme will be "The Joy of the Journey." In addition to Dr. Cullers, APH staff and product authors will provide training sessions in the use of the latest APH products. Watch the web site for updates as they develop.

APH File Repository to Add College Level Files

APH’s Christine Anderson has been working with publishers to reach agreements regarding the addition of college level files to the APH File Repository. Association of American Publishers’ vice president Barbara Meredith invited Christine to present at the Rights and Permissions Advisory Committee (RPAC) Annual Conference in New York on May 13. This meeting will give APH the opportunity to let 100 publisher representatives know about the APH File Repository and Quark®-to-text conversion services.

Miss Kyra Anderson (age 2) is helping mom Christine prepare for the New York trip by catching up with The Times.

Photo: Miss Kyra Anderson (age 2) is helping mom Christine prepare for the New York trip by catching up with "The Times."

ATIC Collaborates with AFB and Northwest Vista College

Committee members and students.  Betsy is in the front row, sixth from the left.

Betsy Burnham, editor and trainer with APH’s Accessible Textbook Initiative and Collaboration (ATIC), has had two exciting visits to Northwest Vista College, in San Antonio, Texas. The American Foundation for the Blind and Northwest Vista College have developed a series of courses to support careers as braille textbook transcribers in hopes of lessening the critical shortage.

Betsy and nine other transcribers from around the country met in mid-January and early March to develop teacher objectives and student activities for semesters two and three. The hope is to replicate this curriculum in community colleges throughout the country.

While attending the March marathon meetings, the committee members were honored to meet the 20 plus students enrolled in the program. Betsy shared that, "they were a wonderful, enthusiastic, knowledgeable group of people with whom we shared our experiences, hopes for their future, and mutual love of braille."

Photo: Committee members and students. Betsy is in the front row, sixth from the left.

Two APH Staffers Appear on NBA Officer Slate: Betsy Burnham and Jan Carroll

Jan Carroll

The slate for election as directors for 2003-2004 at the 27th conference of the National Braille Association in May includes two APH staff members: Betsy Burnham (Accessible Media Manager, ATIC) and Jan Carroll (Contract Administration Manager).

Betsy’s interest in braille and tactile graphics began in her youth while living on the campus of the New York State School for the Blind in Batavia, New York, during her father’s tenure as superintendent of the school. She is completing her second nonconsecutive three-year term as a member of the Board and is Chair of the Transcriber and Educator Services Committee.

Jan has been a certified braille transcriber since 1981. She developed APH’s Crafty Graphics Stencil Embossing Kit and was instrumental in starting a prison braille program in Kentucky. She is currently serving as President of the Kentucky Chapter of AER.

Photo: Jan Carroll.

May Meetings with APH Advisory Committees

APH staff members are working hard to prepare for the visits of our two Ex Officio Trustee Advisory Committees in May. These committees will soon be with us, considering commendations for our accomplishments and recommendations for the future directions of the company.

The five-member Educational Services Advisory Committee (ESAC) will join us May 4 through 6. If you have thoughts regarding services provided by APH, please share them with the chair of that committee, Dan Boyd at email hidden; JavaScript is required.

The seven-member Educational Products Advisory Committee (EPAC) will join us May 18 through 21. If you have thoughts regarding products provided by APH, please share them with the chair of that committee, Dotta Hassman at email hidden; JavaScript is required.

Billy Brookshire and the Tuttles Built Self-Esteem in Albuquerque

APH’s "Loving Me: Secrets of Self-Esteem" workshop held in Albuquerque, New Mexico, April 21 and 22, was lovingly attended by 90 folks, including teachers of the visually impaired, rehabilitation teachers, parents, other family members, and students. Dean and Naomi Tuttle presented the opening introductory session, providing information on the quality of life and self-esteem. Billy Brookshire then facilitated two days of activities that helped participants explore, discuss, and learn about self-esteem and how to encourage and teach students with visual impairments to become self-advocates. Thanks to Billy, Dean, Naomi, and all who attended, it was a fun and refreshing National Instructional Partnership event.

It Takes a Company . . .
The APH Roadmap to Making Tests Accessible in Braille

Making tests accessible in braille is an intricate process that requires commitment and cooperation from several of APH’s departments.
The Contract Administration Department is responsible for actually "getting the tests in the door" by coordinating with test publishing companies and states that request their assessments be provided in accessible media. When the tests arrive at APH for their transformation into braille, the editors in APH’s Accessible Tests Department review the tests, make revisions, and collaborate with the test publishers and state DOE staff to make the tests accessible to test takers who are visually impaired. In APH’s Braille Department, the transcribers translate the tests from print to braille and create any tactile graphics needed to supplement the braille test. When transcription is complete, the tests are delivered to the APH Proofreading Department. There, the tests are carefully inspected for braille errors and readability of tactile graphics. Should no errors be found, the specified quantity of accessible tests are brailled and sent to the customer. To see a few of the many employees that make accessible tests a reality, visit

APH’s Dena Garrett Elected Consultant to BANA Committee

Dena Garrett

At the recent CTEVH Meeting in Burlingame, CA, it was recommended that APH’s Accessible Tests Department have a representative on BANA’s Formats Technical Committee. ATIC’s Accessible Textbook Editor Dena Garrett was nominated and elected to serve as a consultant to this committee. As a certified transcriber with more than 31 years of transcribing experience and 8 years experience transcribing standardized tests for APH, Dena certainly knows the issues and meets the qualifications stated in the BANA bylaws. Congratulations, Dena!

Council for Exceptional Children, Division on Visual Impairments Honors Teacher

Janie Humphries (left) and Judy Cernkovitch

A new award was presented at the International CEC Conference in Seattle, WA, in April. On Thursday evening, April 10, at the business meeting of the Division on Visual Impairments (DVI), APH’s Janie Humphries had the honor of presenting Early Childhood Teacher Judy Cernkovitch, of Bowling Green, Ohio, with the first-ever Teacher of the Year Award! Judy, an active member of AER and CEC, recently served as a member of the APH Family Focus Group. Dr. Phil Hatlen, Ex Officio Trustee (TX), was honored with the Distinguished Service Award.

Photo: Janie Humphries (left) and Judy Cernkovitch.

O&M Front and Center!

If you are an Orientation and Mobility instructor or a visually impaired traveler, check out our two web surveys regarding gait in blind students and use of the Miniguide. You can complete these surveys at and respectively.

If you don’t have web access, copies of the surveys can be obtained by contacting Terrie Terlau at 800/223-1839, ext. 381. Your input will help us tremendously, so please respond!

APH and CAST’s National File Format Study

APH Technology Project Leader Larry Skutchan is a member of the team of experts attempting to define a national file format (NFF) to be used by textbook publishers in providing files to blind students around the country. These intense meetings, supplimented with weekly conference calls, have resulted in impressive progress.

When the Center for Applied Special Technology (CAST) first proposed this study, many in the field wondered why CAST’s study was needed in light of the work done by the Digital Accessible Information System (DAISY) consortium and the committee headed by the National Library Service to define Digital Talking Books (DTB). In fact, much of the work of this committee will directly apply to the NFF. CAST wanted, however, to insure that the files of textbooks supplied by publishers would be accessible to all students, no matter what their handicapping condition. The specifications developed for the DTB met most of these needs, and work is currently underway to approve National Information Standards Organization document z3986 as the file format in question with some additions and enhancements.

Programmers Keith Creasy and Larry Skutchan will attend the DAISY Technical meeting to be held in Amsterdam this May. With APH’s work on Book WizardTM Reader and Book WizardTM Producer, two programs that read and create NISO z3986 Digital Talking Books, it is critical to both learn and share expertise with the rest of the worldwide membership of the DAISY consortium.

APH Welcomes Our Newest Ex Officio Trustee

APH welcomes Les Stevens as the new Ex Officio Trustee at the Illinois School for the Visually Impaired, replacing Reggie Clinton.

Federal Quota Census Update

We are ahead of schedule on the Student Census this year. Ex Officio Trustees did a wonderful job of getting information in on time. The Data Verification stage is next and will be sent the first week of May. Be watching for it. Corrections may be handled with a phone call, fax, or by snail mail.

Attention Ex Officio Trustees: Who Gathers Your Federal Quota Census Information?

Advisory Services is putting together a list of the folks who are gathering your census data and entering it into the SRS program. We will use this database to send reminders as well as helpful hints regarding the program and some of the unique things it can do. Please email Karen Blaker at email hidden; JavaScript is required or complete the form available on the web site. If emailing, please include your account number, the person’s name, mailing address, phone, fax, and email address.

May APH Travel Calendar

on the road with APH

May 1-3, 2003
12th Annual Outreach Forum; Philadelphia, PA

May 1-3, 2003
NBA Conference (National Braille Association): Middlesburo Heights, OH

May 12-13, 2003
Arkansas AER, Little Rock, AR

May 12-14, 2003
DAISY Conference, Amsterdam

May 12-16, 2003
Legislative visits, Washington, DC

May 16-17, 2003
CVI Meeting, BC, Canada

WANTED: Director of Resource Services

WANTED: Preferably Alive Director of Resource Services REWARD!

Our wonderful Christine Anderson, the long-time director of Resource Services, has decided that working on special APH projects from home will best serve her young child. (Her first project will be to improve the Louis interface, making it even easier to use.)

We are now searching for the right person to attempt to fill her shoes. For the full job description, please use this APH web site link:

There’s another exciting opportunity that’s been available for a while now: Early Childhood Project Leader. For a full job description of this Research Department position, use this web link:

We’d love the chance to sell you, or anyone you feel is qualified, on APH and the city of Louisville!

Two New Catalogs Coming Your Way in May!

2003-2004 Products Catalog Cover

Look for two new APH catalogs in May:

  • Products Catalog 2003-2004, a complete listing of APH educational and daily living products (except textbooks).
  • New Textbooks in Accessible Media, a listing of the latest textbook titles available from APH in braille, enlarged print, and large print.

These two publications will be available in May, in print and on the web. In early May, look for special banners on the APH home page that will take you to the complete text of both of these catalogs. Look for the print copies in your mail box in mid-May.

Not on our mailing list? Request your free copies by emailing, or calling 800/223-1839.

New Products from APH

NEW! Teen Scene: Portraits of Success (Videotape/DVD)

<em>Teen Scene: Portraits of Success</em>” /></p>
<p>Starring four Kentucky teen-agers with low vision, this 39-minute video will make you laugh, warm your heart, and make you feel as though you know these teens! It’s all about being successful, self-advocating, dating, playing sports, and achieving in school and on the job. Our four stars will show you how it’s done. </p>
<p>Teen Scene VHS Videotape: 1-30011-00…$25.00<br />
Teen Scene DVD: 1-30011-DVD…$25.00</p>
<h3>NEW! ENVISION<br />
Vision Enhancement Program Using Distance and Near Magnification Devices</h3>
<p><img src=

The ENVISION training program uses stories and activities about Emmy the Emu and other high-interest characters to teach students to use optical devices. It covers skills such as tracing, tracking, and scanning, and includes enrichment activities and objectives for each lesson, as well as reports to the clinician.

There are two separate ENVISION programs, with each further divided into materials for younger and older students.

  • ENVISION I for Distance Devices – simulates standard street signs, addresses, international symbols, and familiar objects.
  • ENVISION II for Near Magnification Devices – simulates graphics and print used in textbooks and literature.

ENVISION I Program without Telescope Array includes:

  • Two large print teacher manuals for monocular telescopes: one for students 10 and younger, and one for students 11 and older
  • Consumable materials packet with Clinician Report Forms, Student/Parent Interview Forms, and Certificates
  • 48 distance cards
  • Two "Emmy the Emu" puppets
  • One Tote bag

ENVISION I Program with Telescope Array includes above materials along with five of the most commonly used monocular telescopes (2X, 4X, 6X, 8X, 10X) in a foam-lined case.


ENVISION II Program without Magnifier Array includes:

  • Two large print teacher’s manuals for hand-held magnifiers: one for students 10 and younger, and one for students 11 and older.
  • Two student activity books
  • Consumable materials packet with Clinician Report Forms, Student/Parent Interview Forms, and Certificates
  • Two "Emmy the Emu" puppets
  • Five Mystery of the Magnifiers comic books
  • One Tote bag

ENVISION II Program with Magnifier Array includes the above materials along with six of the most commonly used hand-held magnifiers (1.8X, 4X, 5X, 6X, 8X, 10X) in a foam-lined case.

ENVISION I with Telescope Array: 1-08551-00…$540.00
ENVISION I without Telescope Array: 1-08553-00…$195.00
ENVISION II with Magnifier Array: 1-08552-00…$395.00
ENVISION II without Magnifier Array: 1-08554-00…$175.00

NOTE: Optical device arrays cannot be sold in Montana, North Dakota, Vermont, Washington, Texas, or Quebec. Arrays are not sold separately.

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:

April Issue –
March Issue –
February Issue –

Archive of all previous issues –

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

  • Christine Anderson, Special Projects Advisor, Resource Services
  • Sandi Baker, Field Services Representative, Advisory Services
  • Karen Blaker, Support Specialist, Advisory Services
  • Scott Blome, Director, Communications
  • Jan Carroll, Manager, Contract Administration
  • Elaine Kitchel, Project Leader, Low Vision, Educational Research
  • Janie Humphries, Director, Advisory Services
  • Nancy Lacewell, Director, Government and Community Affairs
  • Artina Paris, Assistant, Advisory Services
  • Kristopher Scott, Test Editor, Accessible Tests
  • Larry Skutchan, Project Leader, Technology, Educational Research
  • Terrie Terlau, Project Leader, Adult Life, Educational Research
  • Jane Thompson, Director, ATIC
  • Debbie Willis, Director, Accessible Tests