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APH News

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

May 2007

Exciting New APH Products Announced!

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

Braille+ Mobile Manager

Message from APH President Tuck Tinsley

The Department of Education has approved an allocation of $253.77 per student from the FY2007 appropriation. These students meet the definition of blindness as per the annual federal quota census.

Annual Meeting Theme Selected

The theme for the 139th Annual Meeting will be "APH and Ex Officio Trustees: Expanding the Core."

When you see those words, who do you think of immediately? Yes, Phil Hatlen, and he will be with us to set the tone for this exciting event.

Another big draw for the 2007 Annual Meeting will be a major presentation on the eagerly awaited results of the ABC BRAILLE STUDY! Hear the news first in Louisville!

Many of you will soon receive postcards requesting that you set aside October 11-13, 2007 to join us in Louisville at the Downtown Marriott. All News readers are invited to attend!

APH Annual Meeting Dates and Louisville Locations:

2007: October 11 – 13—Downtown Marriott Hotel
2008: October 2 – 4—Seelbach Hotel (APH 150th Celebration)
2009: October 15 – 17—Seelbach Hotel
2010: October 14 – 16—Galt House
2011: October 13 – 15—Galt House
2012: October 11 – 13—Galt House

Braille+™ Mobile Manager Training Announced

On May 16, from 1:00 to 2:00 PM, APH Technology Project Leader Larry Skutchan will host a webcast presentation introducing the new Braille+ Mobile Manager. To participate please email Maria Delgado at email hidden; JavaScript is required who will respond with log-in instructions.
Also, please remember that the archived web trainings on the various aspects of the Book Port™ are on the APH website at:

Evaluators Needed for New Brailling/Thermoforming Material

Are you wishing for another material to create durable braille recipe cards, address cards, and classroom worksheets? Perhaps you are searching for an alternative plastic to use on a tabletop thermoform machine. APH might have a new option for you. If you would like to receive a sample packet and are willing to provide feedback about various sizes of a new plastic material for brailling and/or thermoforming, please contact Karen J. Poppe, APH Tactile Graphics Project Leader, at email hidden; JavaScript is required or 800/223-1839, ext. 322.

Paper sizes range from note card size to full 11.5" X 11" sheets. Ideal evaluators are those who have access to and can test the material with a variety of tools including a braillewriter, a slate and stylus, an APH Swail Dot Inverter, and a tabletop thermoform machine. Only a limited number of packets are available for testing, so please respond soon.

Light Box Materials Survey

APH is updating the illustrations in the Light Box Materials. Please take a few minutes to fill out this product specific survey. Click here to participate:

Additional Field Test Families Needed for New Lots of Dots Book

APH is seeking additional families to field test the third and final book in the Lots of Dots raised-line and large print coloring book series. Lots of Dots: Coloring the Garden presents fruits, vegetables, and herbs. As mentioned in the April News, this product is designed for beginning readers. It is recommended that children have completed at least one other book in the Lots of Dots series. The word for each item is presented in large print, uncontracted braille, and contracted braille (when applicable). This book is best used in the home where parents and children can complete the enrichment activities (recipes) together. Field testing is scheduled for July and August of 2007. Spend your summer shopping the farmers’ market and preparing fun family meals. To participate, contact Tristan Pierce at email hidden; JavaScript is required

CEC Comes to Louisville

Over 5,000 special educators traveled to Louisville April 18-21 to attend the 84th Annual Council for Exceptional Children Convention and Expo. APH was well represented with presentations by Kris Scott, Monica Turner, Karen Poppe, Tristan Pierce, and Millie Smith.

Several APH staff members were also on hand to man the APH booth in the exhibit hall. New products were highlighted, with the new APH Sound Balls, Tactile Connections, DRAFTSMAN, and the new Woodcock Johnson® III being among the crowd favorites.

Susan Osterhaus, teacher at the Texas School for the Blind, was honored as the CEC Clarissa Hug Teacher of the Year. The Division on Visual Impairments (DVI) presented Donna McNear (MN) with the Distinguished Service Award, named Dr. Sheila Amato (NY) the DVI Teacher of the Year, and awarded Pete Stabnick (AR) the Distinguished Advocate Award for his 17 years as printer/publisher of the Division’s newsletter, the DVI Quarterly.

OSERS Secretary Visits APH

Secretary Hager surrounded by APH's Nicole Gaines (NIMAC Manager), Bob Brasher (VP, Advisory Services and Research), Gary Mudd (VP, Public Affairs), Tuck Tinsley (President), and Julia Myers (Director of Resource Services and NIMAC)

The recent CEC Conference brought a very special visitor to APH.

John H. Hager, Assistant Secretary, Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS), visited APH on the morning of Friday April 20. After presentations about APH and the National Instructional Materials Access Center (NIMAC), Secretary Hager and his staffers Bonnie Jones and Jim Button toured the Museum and manufacturing plant with APH President Tuck Tinsley.

Photo: Secretary Hager surrounded by APH’s Nicole Gaines (NIMAC Manager), Bob Brasher (VP, Advisory Services and Research), Gary Mudd (VP, Public Affairs), Tuck Tinsley (President), and Julia Myers (Director of Resource Services and NIMAC).

Leaders from Japan Look at NIMAC

APH's Julia Myers sits at a table with Hiroshi Kawamura and two other Japanese guests

Hiroshi Kawamura, Director of National Rehabilitation Center for Persons with Disabilities Research (NCRD), Japan, and other leaders who work in the field of assistive technology and who are researching ways to provide better national education and training opportunities for persons with low vision and other print disabilities, visited APH in April. Their primary interest for the visit was to learn how the NIMAC might serve as the model for such a system in Japan.

Working Double Time!

The two standing APH Advisory Committees made up of Ex Officio Trustees, the Educational Products Advisory Committee (EPAC) and the Educational Services Advisory Committee (ESAC), will meet in Louisville May 6 – 10. At their suggestion, both committees will be on-site at the same time this year, to better understand and communicate their roles and the work of APH.

Each committee will meet with staff members at APH to discuss product development, processes, and services as they relate to APH products and other key concerns.

The committees are chaired by Joe Catevero, Ex Officio Trustee representing the New York Institute for Special Education (EPAC) and Jean Martin, Ex Officio Trustee representing the Minnesota Department of Education (ESAC). If you have comments or questions for either committee, please contact Joe, Jean, or Janie Blome at APH!

The Trustee Directory can be found on the APH web site.

Easy Ways to Expand Your Hundreds Boards Kit

If you are currently using APH’s Hundreds Boards and Manipulatives [Catalog #1-03105-00] with your students, here are some quick and simple ways to expand its uses and sorting pieces:

Build Pictographs

'My Favorite Season' Pictograph

Use the interactive, 10 x 10 raised-line Grid Board to build pictographs. The included sorting shapes (stars, squares, triangles, and circles) can be used to represent data. The photo below shows data from a survey of students’ favorite seasons. Create needed print and/or braille labels for graphing purposes; affix loop VELCRO® brand to the back of the labels to keep them in place on the grid.

Add More Sorting Shapes

Below are some suggestions for creating additional tactually discernable sorting shapes for your current Hundreds Boards collection:

Photo of Hundreds Board's stars with Feel 'n Peel stickers added

  • Apply tactile stickers to Hundreds Boards’ smooth-textured stars, squares, triangles, circles. For example, "Point Symbol" or "Star" stickers from APH’s Feel ‘n Peel Stickers packages can be used to adapt the shapes.

  • oval rhinestones attached to the Hundreds Board with VELCRO (r) brand
    Affix VELCRO® brand loop to the back of inexpensive objects acquired at local craft stores, such as rhinestones or buttons, to create new sorting shapes.

For more information about APH’s Hundreds Boards and Manipulatives, please visit

Prison Braille Focus Group in the Planning Stages

Prison Braille Program

As part of an ongoing effort to support braille production facilities in prisons across the U.S., the APH National Prison Braille Program is planning to host a focus group meeting in Louisville in the coming months. Goals include developing guidelines to establish a prison braille program and compiling existing educational materials to form a program curriculum. In addition, focus group members will work toward developing goals and action steps for a re-entry initiative, designed to enable qualified transcribers to continue producing braille once they are released from prison.

To ensure that the needs of all organizations supporting prison braille programs are met, we are looking for professionals from both the field of vision and the field of corrections who work with existing programs to join our focus group. If you have experience with a prison braille program and would like to share your expertise with us, please contact Nancy Lacewell, APH Director of Government and Community Affairs, at 800-223-1939 ext. 339 or send her an email at email hidden; JavaScript is required. And please pass the word along to your colleagues in the field of vision, as well as professionals in the field of corrections who may be interested in helping.

APH Hosts BANA Meeting

In its mission to assure and promote literacy for tactile readers, the Braille Authority of North America (BANA) held their spring meeting in Louisville at The American Printing House for the Blind, April 12-15. Representatives of its 13 member organizations met to deliberate the rules pertaining to existing braille codes.

Judy Dixon, of the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, chaired this important meeting to discuss braille and tactile graphic standards for North America.

For a complete listing of member organizations, visit the website:

APH Does Texas AER

"Visionary Experiences – Shine on!" was the theme for the 2007 Texas AER Conference in Austin, TX, March 29 – 31. The conference was well-attended by teachers of the visually impaired, orientation and mobility instructors, rehabilitation teachers, parents, and interested others, as participants enjoyed a keynote address by Texas’ own Billy Brookshire and a host of concurrent sessions.

Field Services Representative Sandi Baker provided an exhibit of APH products, including the new SQUID, the latest Moving Ahead series book Splish the Fish, and the World at your Fingers.

APH Flea Market

The APH Flea Market

Want to take advantage of the many bargains available to you at the APH Flea Market? See our new listing of overstocked and discontinued products at This discounted inventory is available "first come, first served," so order early to take advantage of the dollars off.

Professional Development of Future Leaders

Erika Forster

Erika Forster is a teacher of students with visual impairments in Coquitlam, British Columbia, a suburb of Vancouver. She is also a 4th year doctoral student in school psychology at the University of British Columbia, advised by Dr. Cay Holbrook. As part of a specialty placement, Erika spent a very busy week at APH learning, reviewing products and materials, and gaining resources from the staff in Accessible Tests, Research, and Field Services. During her stay, Erika was housed on the campus of the Kentucky School for the Blind.

APH Welcomes New Staff Members

Deane Quillen

Deane Quillen joins APH as Large Print Prototype Developer in the Accessible Textbooks Department. Dean holds a B.A. degree in Sociology with a background in documentary mediamaking and community outreach, having worked with Appalshop, the multidisciplinary Appalachian Arts and Cultural Center based in Whitesburg, KY.

Michael Sell

Michael Sell is the newest Test Editor in the Accessible Tests Department. Michael holds a B.S. degree in Elementary Education with a background that ranges from working with textbook and trade publishers to maintaining the integrity of research content for various clients.

Debbra Tate

Debbra Tate recently joined APH as Systems Librarian in Resource Services. Debbra joins APH from BWI, which provides cataloging and other services. Debbra also obtained many years experience as cataloging supervisor at Murray State University and earned her MSLS from the University of Kentucky.

Engraved Stone Presented to Field of Blindness Icon

Will Evans with wife Barbara just after receiving the engraved presentation stone

The legendary retired Superintendent of the Kentucky School for the Blind, Will D. Evans, who now serves as APH’s Products and Services Advisor, recently received an engraved stone honoring his career contributions. (For his wisdom and courage to lead.) The original stone now appears on the Wall of Tribute, located in the Hall of Fame for Leaders and Legends of the Blindness Field. A replica of the stone was presented to Will at the state Kentucky AER conference in April. The stone was donated by the Kentucky AER Chapter and the Kentucky School for the Blind Charitable Foundation.

Photo: Will Evans with wife Barbara just after receiving the engraved presentation stone.

Hall of Fame for Leaders and Legends of the Blindness Field

Another New Site Addition to the Hall of Fame for Leaders and Legends of the Blindness Field.

Have you wondered how to nominate someone for the Hall of Fame? Well, wonder no more. A new Nominations Procedure page has just been added to the Hall site:

APH Corporate Annual Report Now Available

The APH corporate Annual Report for Fiscal Year 2006 is now available. This publication contains an overview of APH activities for the year and valuable statistics about the numbers and types of blind students registered for the Federal Quota program. In addition, this publication contains the final reports of APH’s two Ex Officio Trustee Advisory Committees, as well as a photo section from the 2006 APH Annual Meeting. Read this report online or request your free regular print copy by emailing email hidden; JavaScript is required, or calling 1-800-223-1839.

New Ex Officio Trustee

Please welcome Nilsa Alicea as the new Ex Officio Trustee for the Instituto Loaiza Cordero Para Ninos Ciegos in Puerto Rico. Nilsa replaces Shirley Raffucci.

APH Travel Calendar

on the road with APH


May 6-10, 2007
EPAC and ESAC Advisory Meetings;
APH in Louisville, KY

May 15, 2007
Universal Design for Learning Expert Workgroup Meeting (KDE);
Winchester, KY

May 17-18, 2007
NLS Western/Midlands Conference;
Scottsdale, AZ


June 1-3, 2007
KSB Alumni Association 2007;
Louisville, KY

June 16-18, 2007
RESNA 2007 (Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology Society of North America;
Phoenix, AZ

June 17-20, 2007
Council of Chief State School Officers 2007 Large Scale Assessment Conference;
Nashville, TN

June 19-20, 2007
NIP Event-Teaching Math to the Blind;
Jackson, MS

June 23, 2007
Braille Challenge;
Los Angeles, CA

June 30-July 6, 2007
NFB Convention 2007;
Atlanta, GA

June 30-July 7, 2007
ACB 2007;
Minneapolis, MN


July 12-15, 2007
Literacy for All;
Louisville, KY

July 13-15, 2007
Families Connecting with Families National Conference;
Omaha, NE

July 17-21, 2007
AHEAD Conference 2007;
Charlotte, NC

July 18-20, 2007
Kentucky Rehabilitation Association Conference 2007;
Bridging Kentucky Resources; Lexington, KY

July 20-22, 2007
Visions 2007 (Foundation Fighting Blindness);
Kansas City, MO

July 24-26, 2007
Gateways for Independence;
Louisville, KY

APH Museum’s Bards and Storytellers Series Presents Kathy and Tom Arnold

The outstanding Kentucky folk duo, Kathy and Tom Arnold, will appear at 1:00 PM, Saturday, May 12, as part of the second annual Bards and Storytellers Series*.

The Arnolds met at a music festival in 1995, and their love and talent blossomed into a musical partnership. Tom is a guitarist and vocalist whose music blends well with the beautiful voice of his wife, Kathy. They have a versatile style, covering country, gospel, folk, and blues. To hear a sample of their music, visit the artists’ registry:

The program is free, but space is limited, so reservations are recommended. Call Mike Hudson at 800/223-1839, ext. 365 to reserve your space.

*Bards and Storytellers is an award-winning series of presentations by entertainers who are blind. As part of each program, folklorist Jon Kay, Director of Traditional Arts Indiana, in Bloomington, Indiana, will engage in a discussion with the performers, so that the audience will not only have a chance to enjoy these talented performers, but will learn something about the personal events and forces that have shaped their careers.

C. Warren Bledsoe Archives Coming to APH!

Warren Bledsoe

The Callahan Museum at the American Printing House announced in April that an important collection documenting the pioneers of orientation and mobility is coming to Louisville. The collection, assembled by the Orientation and Mobility Division of the Association for Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired (AER), has been housed for decades at the Maryland School for the Blind in Baltimore.

"In these papers we see the thoughts and dreams of the men and women who developed many of the techniques still taught today," said Callahan Museum Director Mike Hudson. "Names like Warren Bledsoe, Dick Hoover, Russ Williams, and many others."

"I am pleased to confirm that the agreement between AER and APH for the transfer of the C. Warren Bledsoe Archives of the Orientation and Mobility Division has been approved by the Executive Committee of the O&M Division and by the AER Board of Directors," said archives committee chairman Richard Welsh. "This is great news for the archives and for the history of our profession."

Plans to transport the materials to Louisville this summer are underway. Once there, they will be stored at the museum’s state-of-the-art facility inside the American Printing House for the Blind. The collection should be available for researchers by the end of the summer.

For more information on the lives of Warren Bledsoe, Dick Hoover, and Russell Williams, visit their Hall of Fame biography pages.

Providing Automatic Braille Conversion – FREE

A free service that provides automatic Braille conversion is proving popular despite still being in test phase. RoboBraille was started by a Danish organization and now has partners in five other European countries.

Anyone wanting to use the service can send plain text, rich text, html or Word documents by e-mail. Within a few minutes you will receive a document either as an MP3 audio file or as electronic Braille.

The RoboBraille service is currently processing about 400 requests a day but the system has the capacity to deal with up to 14,000 a day.
With the second phase of testing about to begin, RoboBraille’s developers are now keen for more people to test the service ahead of its planned launch next year. For more information, visit:

NFB-LINK: Linking Individuals to a Network of Knowledge

The National Federation of the Blind is offering a premier, one-stop resource for information on career paths, educational opportunities, recreational activities, technology, and many other topics from successful blind and visually impaired people. NFB-LINK, pairs individuals seeking information about blindness with successful blind people. A college student can learn how to conduct experiments in a biology class or a newly blind person can learn how to continue gardening after vision loss.

To access this one-of-a-kind service, visit On the site, you can share your expertise by joining the growing pool of mentors or you can request a mentor that can help answer your blindness-related questions. For additional information about this program, contact Rosy Carranza at email hidden; JavaScript is required, or 410/659-9314, ext. 2283.

Now Revised: Find Info on New Products Fast!

You can find a list of all new APH products released in the last year by clicking the "Products" link on our home page, then clicking the second link down, "APH Products: New Releases!" You’ll find an alphabetical listing of APH products (excluding textbooks) released in the last year. As always, you’ll read about new products first right here in the APH News!

It’s Here! The Greatly-Anticipated Braille+™ Mobile Manager!

Braille+ Mobile Manager: 1-07450-00 — $1,395.00

Braille+ Mobile Manager

This powerful, flexible, and easy-to-use mobile manager from LevelStar™ and APH is designed specifically for users who are blind or visually impaired. Use it like a hand-held PDA or like a laptop.

Use Braille+ Mobile Manager to:

  • Stay connected by using its web browser, wireless capability, podcasts, RSS, and email
  • Manage appointments with its calendar and address book
  • Type reports or letters on the word processor
  • Record lectures or journal the day’s events
  • Play your favorite songs or listen to books and movies—it stores thousands
  • Transfer files and synchronize appointments with your Windows® PC

Braille+ Features

Person using the Braille+ Mobile Manager

  • Braille keyboard
  • 30GB hard drive
  • Wi-Fi® and Bluetooth® capability built-in
  • Word processor that is Microsoft Word® compatible
  • MP3 player
  • Book player supports DAISY books and Bookshare®
  • Voice recorder
  • Address book, clock, stopwatch, and calendar


  • Rechargeable battery and AC Adapter
  • Carrying Case
  • Lanyard
  • Ear buds
  • Interface and USB Cables
  • Tutorial Audio and Program CD and Print/Braille Quick Start guides

NEW! Where the Wild Things Are — Maurice Sendak

Print/Braille: 9-16352-00 — $25.00

Where the Wild Things Are

Max is sent to bed without supper and encounters a variety of not-too-scary creatures, becomes their king, and leads them in a wild rumpus. This addition to the popular Chrissy’s Collection of APH print/braille Children’s books uses the full-color hard-cover picture book. Clear plastic braille overlays contain the full text, enabling the book to be enjoyed by an entire classroom or family.

Watch your APH News for other new Chrissy’s Collection titles to be announced soon!

NEW! APH Sound Balls

Boing Boing Ball (yellow): 1-07510-00 — $95.00
Techno Beat Ball (red): 1-07516-00 — $95.00

Two APH Soundballs

The APH Sound Ball is made of durable foam and is suitable for most recreational activities (for example, kickball, soccer, or practicing sound localization skills). Measuring 7.5 inches, the electronic ball features dual speakers, dual volume, and two-tone sounds to accommodate children who wear hearing aids. Fully rechargeable, the ball is available in two different versions: Red, with a "Techno Dance Beat" tone, and yellow with a "Boing-Boing" tone.

APH News Credits

Dr. Tuck Tinsley

Malcolm Turner, APH Web Site Coordinator

Thanks to the following APH staff:

  • Cindy Amback, Support Specialist, Field Services
  • Nancy Bayens, Administrative Assistant, Accessible Textbooks and Accessible Tests
  • Janie Blome, Director, Field Services
  • Scott Blome, Director, Communications
  • Jan Carroll, Manager, Contracts Administraton
  • Maria Delgado, Field Services Representative
  • Tony Grantz, Business Development Manager
  • Micheal Hudson, Director, APH Museum
  • Nancy Lacewell, Director, Government Relations
  • Julia Myers, Director, Resource Services and NIMAC
  • Becki Moody, Support Specialist, Communications
  • Artina Paris-Jones, Assistant, Field Services
  • Karen Poppe, Tactile Graphics Project Leader, Research
  • Tristan Pierce, Multiple Disabilities Project Leader, Research
  • Kathy Smiddy, Executive Secretary to the President
  • Scott Smith, Administrative Assistant, Business Development
  • Roberta Williams, Public Affairs and Special Projects Manager
  • 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 –

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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