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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.

May 2006

Exciting New APH Products Announced!

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

For timely delivery, order Fall 2006 textbooks now!

For details, visit:

Tom Sullivan to Keynote APH’s 138th Annual Meeting, "Adjusting the Sails"

Tom Sullivan

APH proudly announces that actor, singer, entertainer, author, and producer Tom Sullivan will be the featured keynote speaker at the 138th Annual Meeting of Ex Officio Trustees and Special Guests, October 12 – 14, at the Marriott Hotel in Louisville, KY.

Sullivan gained national prominence with 35 appearances on The Tonight Show, a major recording contract, his autobiography, If You Could See What I Hear (also a major motion picture), his numerous children’s books, his years as special correspondent on ABC’s Good Morning America, his numerous movie and television appearances, and as the spokesperson for countless organizations. Tom’s Adventures In Darkness, to be published by Thomas Nelson in September, is slated as a motion picture for 2007. The Emmy Award winner was also the co-writer and co-producer of Blind Witness, an ABC movie of the week. He is the second recipient of the American Foundation for the Blind’s Lifetime Achievement Award.

APH extends our gratitude to the Allergan Pharmaceutical Corporation for generously providing this opportunity.

Adjusting the Sails Annual Meeting 2006 October 12-14 Louisville, KY

For further information on APH’s 138th Annual Meeting, visit

Visit Tom Sullivan’s web site at

Tactile Graphics Training Offered Through Webcast

APH Presents: Pitfalls! Tips and Techniques for Creating Quality Tactile Graphics
Hosted by: Betsy Burnham and Yan Zhang
Webcast Date/Time: June 13, 2006, 1:00 PM – 3:00 PM (ET)
Registration Fee: FREE!

Please register for this webcast presentation by June 1, 2006. You will be contacted by APH webcast specialist, Maria Delgado, to help you set up your system so you can easily view and participate in the webcast.

This workshop will provide:

  • An overview of current production methods used to create tactile graphics.
  • Materials used in each method.
  • How to decide if a tactile graphic is necessary.
  • Questions to ask yourself before designing the graphic.
  • Tips on designing a graphic.

August Workshop on Making Test Items Accessible

Mark your calendars for August 8-9, 2006! Test publishers, item developers, state assessment personnel, test administrators, school psychologists and administrators, and others are invited. The purpose is to address critical issues with regard to making test items accessible to students who are blind and visually impaired and use braille, print, large print, tactile graphics, or audio formats, or a combination of these media. Some topics to be addressed include: universal design, federal and state laws, low vision, large print, braille, designing readable tactile graphics, audio guidelines, production issues, test-related tools and materials, and more. Dr. Carol Allman from Florida will facilitate the workshop. She will be joined by Accessible Tests and Research staff to provide a number of presentations and hands-on activities.

Registration, instructors, workshop materials, planned meals and local transportation will be provided. For more information, to register, or to suggest individuals to invite to this workshop, please contact Nancy Bayens at 1-800-223-1839 (ext. 470) or email email hidden; JavaScript is required

Making Louis Better!

Louis Database Accessible Materials and APH File Repository

When visiting the APH Louis Database, you may notice some slight changes to several screens. We have implemented some modest changes to make the screens easier to read, more streamlined, and more logically organized. All of the options and links available in the past are still there–but in what we hope is a more user-friendly format. Take a look for yourself!

APH Thanks Congressional Supporters

Gary Mudd with Anne Northup
Gary Mudd with Patrick Kennedy

In spite of constant and growing demands on the Federal budget, the annual appropriation that funds "The Act to Promote the Education of the Blind" continues to increase. This is due in great part to our "champions" in Congress. Several key Senators and Representatives have taken the time to learn about the unique educational needs of blind and visually impaired students, and then follow through with a commitment to support our annual requests for funding.

The APH Public Affairs Department is thanking these champions by presenting each with a print/braille book entitled Capital! Washington DC from A to Z in a hand-made, wooden bookstand with a personalized brass plate designed by Nancy Lacewell, Director of Government and Community Affairs. In these photos, Gary Mudd, Vice President of Public Affairs, thanks Kentucky Congresswoman Anne Northup and Rhode Island Congressman Patrick Kennedy for sharing in our belief that blind and visually impaired students deserve the same educational opportunities as their sighted peers. APH, our field, and our students are extremely fortunate to have such strong support at the Federal government level.

Bluegrass Star Entertains at APH Museum

Michael Cleveland, center, shares a laugh with guitarist Jeff Guernsey, left, and moderator Doug Boyd, right

Champion fiddler Michael Cleveland appeared at the Callahan Museum on April 8. The Bards and Storyteller Series at the Callahan, sponsored by the Printing House and the Kentucky Humanities Council, features modern day entertainers with visual impairments. Cleveland, who graduated from the Kentucky School for the Blind in 1999, played a series of rousing bluegrass tunes accompanied by Jeff Guernsey on guitar. Folklorist Doug Boyd guided a discussion between Cleveland, Guernsey, and the capacity crowd of 65 that explored the performer’s early musical training, his blindness, his inspirations, and his life as a bluegrass musician.

"We were thrilled to have a musician of Mike’s caliber open up our Bards and Storytellers series here at the Callahan Museum," said museum director Mike Hudson. "Incredible, unbelievable, impossible-you pick the adjective-and that is Michael Cleveland."

The series will feature Albuquerque storyteller Cathy Klaus on May 8, and Louisville pop singer Turley Richards on June 17th. Call the museum at 800/223-1839, ext. 365 for additional information or check the museum website at

Photo: Michael Cleveland, center, shares a laugh with guitarist Jeff Guernsey, left, and moderator Doug Boyd, right.

Jack and Jill went up a hill…and all the way to Mississippi!

Jack Fox and Jill Fox pictured holding their award plaques.

Jack Fox and Jill Fox, APH Talking Book narrators, were recently awarded plaques by the Mississippi Library Commission for their part in the 75th anniversary celebration of the Pratt-Smoot Act of 1931. The Pratt-Smoot act formed the basis of the National Library Service Talking Book Program. Jack and Jill are the only father and daughter team approved to read for the program.

Jack is a longtime APH narrator and is well-known in the radio and voice-over market. You may know Jack’s voice from announcements such as, "today’s security level is high" or "the moving sidewalk is coming to an end" that you hear in airports from St. Paul to Maui.

Jill has done many commercial voice-overs and is also on local radio. She has become so successful that Jack says he is now known as "Jill’s father."

New Podcast: Blind Cool Tech

Are you familiar with podcasting? In its simplest form, podcasting is the distribution of audio or video over the Internet. Most people run podcatching software that lets you "subscribe" to shows that then get automatically delivered to your PC as new editions of the show are released, but you can still listen the old fashioned way by navigating to the podcast’s web site and downloading individual shows manually.

Larry Skutchan, of the APH Research Department, recently created Blind Cool Tech, a podcast mainly to create content for distribution to Book Port users. Blind Cool Tech has since grown to include contributions from blind people around the globe regarding techniques, tips, tricks, and entertainment. Go to for a peek or a listen. Please note that the ideas discussed on the web site are those of the individual contributors and do not reflect the position of APH.

NOTE: You do not need an iPod® to listen to podcasts. Windows® Media Player or WinAmp® on your PC works just fine. Even better, send those podcasts to your Book Port for some fun, education, and entertainment.

Book Port 2.2 Just Released:

A FREE update to the Book Port firmware may be obtained by connecting Book Port to your PC while connected to the Internet. If you do not get automatically notified of the update, open the Options dialog in the Book Port Transfer software and tab to the Advanced section. Press the "Check for Firmware Updates" button to download and install the update. You will also want to press the "Check for Software Updates" button.

Caution: before you update the firmware on your Book Port, please insert a fresh set of batteries.

Your update contains the following enhancements:

  • Adds additional levels of navigation for Digital talking Books. Earlier versions supported level 1 and any other level. Now, the navigation commands move to levels 1-5 then to any level.
  • Eliminates the restrictions on the size of audio files you may send to the device. Earlier versions of the firmware supported a maximum file size of 256 MB. There are several Digital Talking Books that exceed this size, however, and this version removes this restriction.
  • Raises the maximum flash card size from 2 GB to 4 GB.
  • Increases the maximum text file size from 4 MB to 16 MB.
  • Adds alarm capabilities.
  • Adds the Next Alarm and Back Alarm commands to move from alarm to alarm.
  • Adds the Enable Alarms option to the Settings menu.
  • Adds the Disable Alarm command.
  • Adds the Delete Alarm command.
  • Adds the Swap File command.
  • Adds the Move File command to move a file from one folder to another.
  • Returns the name of the file to the information you get with the Statistics command.
  • Enhances the feedback for the Spell Word command. Now, the unit announces punctuation and capitalization as it spells the word.
  • Changes the behavior of the Send Text as Line Oriented control, so when this box is checked, Book Port Transfer no longer places sentence marks at sentence breaks.
  • No longer uses mp3 id3 tags as the title of the file.
  • Changes the behavior of the Read key. Now, reading resumes at the word on which you stopped. Previous versions always started back at the beginning of the sentence.
  • Adds support for high-bit fraction symbols.
  • Corrects the problem of the reading pointer falling behind when you stop. This is a function within the software, so you will need to resend any file that exhibits this behavior.
  • Corrects the problem where the manual did not get updated on the unit if the user required a full install.
  • Corrects the problem where new beta testers could not participate in the beta test process.
  • Adds support for Daisy books with multiple skipped pages.
  • Corrects some problems with the "Go To Page" command on some Daisy books.
  • Removes the Fix File System errors button from the software and stops checking on firmware updates. (This function does not work with fat32 file systems.)
  • Adds the Program Temporary Folder control that lets you specify where temporary files get stored.
  • Increases the speed at which mp3 files get encoded.
  • Corrects the problem of having a note with a blank line as the first line of the file.
  • Added the ability to set bookmarks in unindexed audio files. The resolution is one second, so if you try to set a bookmark within one second of an existing bookmark, the command will actually clear the existing bookmark.
  • Alters the way the folder name is announced when attempting to read files in an empty folder. Before, the unit provided the short name and the entire path, now, the firmware announces only the name of the empty folder.
  • Provides extended statistics on a file when the user presses the 8 key regardless of whether the file had been played or not. This corrects a longstanding issue that required you to have pressed the play key at least once before you could obtain statistics.
  • Changes the beeps to spoken announcements when the user sets or clears a bookmark.
  • Adds the command "Announce Elapsed Time." This is accessed with the 5 key in both idle and reading mode for audio files.
  • Changes the behavior of the To and From Notes Command. Now, you do not need to close the note before issuing the command.
  • Adds the Lock and Unlock command while in the notetaker.
  • Announces the folder’s name when the folder is empty.
  • Adds the Power move commands to unindexed mp3 files.
  • Adds the announcement of elapsed time in status for unindexed mp3 files.
  • Bug fix: If the user tries to lock a file in an empty folder, the unit doesn’t say that there are no files to lock.
  • Bug fix: Unindexed mp3 files were improperly locked.

APH Joins Nebraska’s Fling in the Spring

Nebraska’s Spring Fling, a three-day conference hosted in Nebraska City, was held in March. Nebraska Outreach Coordinator Jim Adams planned the conference and asked APH’s Low Vision Project Leader Elaine Kitchel to present on Lighting for Low Vision.

Attendees were taught how fluorescent, incandescent, and natural light affect persons with low vision in different ways. Elaine shared suggestions for conducting environmental assessments, guidelines for recommending lighting for optimal comfort and performance, and information about the physics of light. Each attendee received a CD with accessible information on lighting tips, a Quickstart Guide to Lighting, and the hazards of blue light.

Attendees were also treated to excellent presentations by Dr. Phil Hatlen, Don Golembiewski, Teresa Coonts, and some well-informed local practitioners.

North Carolina COMS and TVIs Learn ENVISION with Invision

Invision Services, Inc. hosted a training on the use of APH’s ENVISION, the curriculum for teaching students to use optical devices, on Friday, March 31, in Durham, North Carolina. More than 40 certified orientation and mobility specialists (COMS) and teachers of the visually impaired (TVIs) participated in the training conducted by Field Services Representative Sandi Baker. The day began with Dr. Elana Scheiner of Family Eye Care speaking on low vision examinations and prescribing optical devices. Participants then learned about ENVISION by using the monoculars, magnifiers, and materials in a variety of activities found in the ENVISION Manuals and led by Sandi. Thanks to COMS’ Diane Brauner and John Higgins for making APH a part of this important training.

APH Displays at CEC

The 2006 Convention and Expo of the Council for Exceptional Children was held April 5 – 8, in Salt Lake City, Utah. APH staff members Sandi Baker, Bettye Barnes, Bob Brasher, and Janie Blome were on hand to showcase new APH products for the many vision professionals in attendance, as well as resource room teachers, special education administrators, adaptive physical education teachers, university faculty and students, and others. Popular products included Web Chase, the Sensory Learning Kit, and Rib-It-Balls.

Special congratulations to APH Ex Officio Trustee Stuart Wittenstein, California School for the Blind, winner of the Division on Visual Impairment (DVI) Distinguished Service Award. Congratulations, Stuart, we’re proud of you!

PCO Job Announcement

WANTED: Full-time Assistant or Associate Professor and Co-Director of Professional Preparation Program for Teachers of Children with Visual and Multiple Impairments

DEPARTMENT: Graduate Studies in Vision Impairment

PRIMARY FUNCTIONS: Teach and advise students and Co-Direct the TVI Program. Will participate fully as a faculty member in the Department of Graduate Studies in Vision Impairment.

CONTACT: Dr. Kathleen Mary Huebner, Professor, Associate Dean, and Chair of Search Committee, Graduate Studies in Vision Impairment, Pennsylvania College of Optometry, 8360 Old York Road, Elkins Park, PA 19027; email hidden; JavaScript is required; Fax: 215-780-1361.

APH Welcomes a New Ex Officio Trustee

Paula Mauro, the Ohio State Department of Education, replacing Mary Binion.

APH Travel Calendar


on the road with APH

May 2, 2006
South Dakota Webcast/Product Training;
Louisville, KY

May 3-5, 2006
Training for Indiana State Dept. of Vocational Rehabilitation, Blind, and Visually Impaired Services;
Turkey Run State Park, IN

May 7, 2006

May 10, 2006
Points of Light Volunteer Management Seminar;
Louisville, KY

May 10-13, 2006
International Preschool Seminar Group Meeting;
Austin, TX

May 13-15, 2006
New Jersey AER, Beyond the Three R’s: Reading, Roaming and the Road to the Future;
Princeton, NJ

May 20, 2006
Disability Awareness Workshop;
Louisville, KY

May 24, 2006
International Digital Publishing Forum;
New York, NY

May 26,2006
Product Training;
Las Vegas, NV

May 31-June 2, 2006
National Center for Educational Outcomes (NCEO), Universal Design;
Minneapolis, MN


June 2-3, 2006
ABC Braille Study;
Austin, TX

June 7-9, 2006
Kentucky Association of Museums Annual Meeting;
Louisville, KY

June 8-9, 2006
ISAVE Training for VI Teachers;
Burlington, VT

June 12-14, 2006
Tactile Graphics Workshop;
APH in Louisville, KY

June 13, 2006
ATIC Webcast;
APH in Louisville, KY

June 13, 2006
Washington, DC

June 13-15, 2006
University of Arizona Teacher Training Workshop;
Navaho Reservation, AZ

June 18-21, 2006
Building Visual Behavior for CVI Students;
Birmingham, AL

June 22-25, 2006
National Braille Challenge Invitational;
Los Angeles, CA

June 25-July 1, 2006
Camp Abilities;
Brockport, NY

June 29-30, 2006
Workshop with the Experts;
Las Cruces, NM


July 1-7, 2006
National Federation of the Blind (NFB);
Dallas, TX

July 8-15, 2006
ACB 2006 (American Council of the Blind-45th Annual Convention);
Jacksonville, FL

July 15-17, 2006
American Association of Home Based Early Intervention;
Norcross, GA

July 14-19, 2006
International AER;
Snowbird, UT

July 26-July 28, 2006
AR Special Show;
Hot Springs, AR

PBS Show Has APH Connection

Rob Keefe, son of APH Vice President of Development Don Keefe, co-hosts a popular PBS series called "Real Simple." The weekly half-hour show, which takes its name from the award-winning magazine of the same name, offers strategies to help make your busy life easier and better.

Rob, who also writes for the magazine version of "Real Simple," is a New York based actor who appears in national commercials, as well as providing radio and TV voice-overs.

Rob is shown here with co-hosts Cydnee Welburn and Brooke Alexander.

For more information, visit

Introducing "Your Way" — Let Us Know How You Use APH Products

Share your knowledge and expertise about APH products with "Your Way: Sharing How You Use APH Products." Your Way is a new feature of the APH website that lets you make comments about a highlighted product of the month.

Easy instructions show you how to leave comments containing your tips, tricks, techniques, alternate uses, or other helpful information about using APH products in your particular situation. Your comments will be archived in the Fred’s Head Companion and Fred’s Head Database for others to access in the future.

This month we are featuring the APH Light Box. Do you have a unique use for this classic APH low vision training product? Let others know by using "Your Way."

Note that you can leave comments about any APH product by using the APH Products Forum.

Living with CHARGE: How to Deal with Challenging Behaviors and Enhance Communication: A Follow-up Study of Individuals with CHARGE Syndrome

1-31003-00 — $40.00
Not available with Federal Quota funds.

By Dr. Jan van Dijk and Dr. Cathy Nelson

Children with CHARGE Syndrome often have a multitude of physical, sensory, endocrinological, and developmental problems. This CD-ROM presents a video on the medical aspects of CHARGE Syndrome, and teaches the viewer to observe and analyze the behavior of five children with CHARGE through the use of video clips and a question/answer section. Numerous overviews of articles by Dr. van Dijk and others are included.

Requirements to Run CD

  • Windows® 95, 98, 2000, ME, or Windows NT 4 or later
  • Pentium® processor
  • 16 MB RAM
  • CD-ROM drive
  • 640 x 480, 256-color display (higher resolution and color depth recommended)
  • Sound Blaster®-compatible sound card

APH Braille Book Corner

APH is now offering a number of new 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 approximately 8 weeks for delivery.

Summer of the Sea Serpent: Magic Tree House Book 31
by Mary Pope Osborne: T-N1539-70 — $17.50
The magician Merlin sends Jack and Annie back in time where they are reunited with boy sorcerer Teddy, transformed into seal people, and discover an old sword. (*AR#76983, RL3.8, Points 1.0)

Wild Turkeys: Returning Wildlife
by John E. Becker: T-N1563-60 — $12.50
Describes the wild turkey of North America, its near extinction and successful comeback, as well as the ongoing efforts to preserve this species. (AR#64864, RL8.2, Points 1.0)

by Kevin Brooks: T-N1540-30 — $90.00
Local bullies accuse sixteen-year-old drifter Lucas of rape, setting off a tragic turn of events. For senior high readers due to some violence and strong language. (*AR#71259, RL 4.7, Points: 14.0)

Love’s Proof
by Catherine Palmer: T-N1536-10 — $71.50
Jane Fellowes, descendant of Sir Isaac Newton, discovers a mysterious box of papers that may establish scientific proof of the existence of God. (Adult Fiction)

Francisco Goya
by Evan S. Connell: T-N1540-50 — $74.50
Traces the life and career of Spanish painter Francisco Goya during the last days of the House of Bourbon, the turmoil of the Inquisition, and Napoleon’s invasion. (Adult Non-fiction)

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


In the new Products Catalog 2006-2007 the following note should have appeared on page 165:
Please Note: the duPont books are not available using Federal Quota dollars.

APH News Credits

Dr. Tuck Tinsley

Malcolm Turner, APH Web Site Coordinator

Thanks to the following APH staff:

  • Cindy Amback, Support Specialist, Field Services
  • Sandi Baker, Field Services Representative
  • Janie Blome, Director, Field Services
  • Scott Blome, Director, Communications
  • Maria Delgado, Field Services Representative
  • Mike Hudson, Museum Director
  • Don Keefe, Vice President, Development
  • Elaine Kitchel, Low Vision Project Leader, Research
  • Nancy Lacewell, Director, Government and Community Affairs
  • Steve Mullins, Braille Proofreading and Studio Supervisor
  • Becki Moody, Support Specialist, Communications
  • Julia Myers, Director, Resource Services
  • Artina Paris-Jones, Assistant, Field services
  • 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:

April Issue –
March Issue –
February 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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