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APH News

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

November 2006

Exciting New APH Products Announced!

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

APH’s 138th Annual Meeting Deemed "One of the Best" by Attendees!

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

The 138th Annual Meeting of Ex Officio Trustees and Special Guests took place October 12 – 14, at the Downtown Marriott Hotel in Louisville. From the opening session, keynoted by Michael Hingson, to the Hall of Fame Inductions of Dr. Arnall Patz and Anne Sullivan, to the powerful presentation of Tom Sullivan, to the sails adjusting dinner/dance cruise on the Spirit of Jefferson, Annual Meeting seemed enthusiastically received.

Tom Sullivan standing in front of a piano

Hingson and Sullivan each reflected this year’s theme, "Adjusting the Sails" in their very personal presentations. General sessions highlighted President Tuck Tinsley’s state of the company address, updates from the field, the research department, exciting new projects from APH, and the progress of the National Instructional Materials Access Center (NIMAC). Concurrent sessions introduced exciting new products.

In addition to our artists, our award winners, and a Hall of Fame inductee, special guests included four APH Scholars, who were first time attendees selected from and by APH Ex Officio Trustees.

Michael Hingson, Roselle, and Dr Arnall Patz

You won’t want to miss the 139th Annual Meeting, October 11 -13, 2007, so start making plans now to attend!

The December Issue of the APH News will offer links to photos, videos, and podcasts of the Annual Meeting.

Photos: Tom Sullivan standing in front of a piano; Michael Hingson, Roselle, and Dr Arnall Patz

Class of 2006 Installed in the Hall of Fame

The bas relief plaques of Dr. Arnall Patz and Anne Sullivan Macy, who were beautifully inducted by Mary Nelle McLennan and Rick Welsh on Friday evening of Annual Meeting, now greet you as you enter the Hall of Fame for Leaders and Legends of the Blindness Field, housed at APH in Louisville.

Engraved Stones Placed on Wall of Tribute

Wilmer Eye Institute Stone: Honoring Dr. Arnall Patz

Eight engraved stones were added to the Wall of Tribute, in the Hall of Fame, on October 12.

The recently placed stones include:

  • Seeing Eye
  • Wilmer Eye Institute / Honoring Dr. Arnall Patz
  • Oak Hill / Honoring Josephine Pace
  • Blind Babies Foundation / Honoring Nancy Akeson
  • Texas AER
  • APH / Honoring Mary Nall
  • APH / Honoring Marilyn Cheatham
  • San Diego Center for the Blind / Honoring Becky Gough

Would you like to honor a mentor, family member, or organization?
It’s easy, for details visit the Hall of Fame’s Wall of Tribute page

Record Year for Introduction of New APH Products

As you have probably noticed from your newsletters, 2006 has been a record year for new product development. In fiscal year 2006 there were 78 new products developed and brought to market. This amazing amount of work was only possible due to the combined efforts of many groups. The field furnished ideas and valuable feedback by submitting ideas for products and by participating in field test studies of products. APH employees in the research, production support, and production areas all collaborated to develop the products and do all of the "behind the scenes" work that enables a product to move from a concept to a concrete product for use in the field. Each and every aspect of a product has to be documented so it can be purchased, organized in inventory, planned in production, fabricated and assembled on the production floor, assessed for costs and pricing, and finally shipped out to the customer. Even the "simplest" of products take a great deal of effort from many individuals to travel through the complete development cycle. Congratulations and thanks to everyone for all of their hard work.

NIMAC Manager Named

Nicole Gaines

Nicole (Nikki) Gaines has been selected as the National Instructional Materials Access Center (NIMAC) Manager. Nicole has many years of experience in librarianship, including cataloging, working with Dublin Core metadata, and electronic book file repository management. Nicole also brings valuable skills and experience gained as an educator, trainer, and in her two years as the APH Systems Librarian. Nicole holds undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Louisville and the University of Kentucky, in addition to course work at University of Valladolid in Spain.

Adaptive Rock Wall Climbing and Sports Camp Listings

A group of rock wall climbers

Two good reasons to visit the APH Physical Education Site:

APH Participates in 2006 DEC Conference

The Statehouse Convention Center at the Peabody Hotel in Little Rock, AR was the setting for CEC’s Division of Early Childhood, Oct 19 – 22. APHers Sandi Baker, Janie Blome, and Burt Boyer attended the conference and demonstrated APH products in the exhibit hall at this nationwide annual conference. The new Swirly Mats and other Light Box materials, along with the On the Way to Literacy Books, drew the attention of the conference attendees. Many teachers of children with various other disabilities commented how these materials would benefit children they serve.

How many APHers does it take to watch a light bulb being changed?

Esteemed APHers Burt Boyer, Janie Blome, and Sandi Baker observe workers changing light bulbs in the 35-foot high ceiling of the Peabody Hotel lobby, as part of their research on "How to change a light bulb in a 35-foot high ceiling without breaking the bulb, and, without dropping the bulb on your head".

Babies Count – A Pioneering Project

During his visit to APH to receive the Wings of Freedom Award and be inducted into the Hall of Fame for Leaders and Legends of the Blindness Field, Dr. Arnall Patz endorsed the Babies Count Project with great enthusiasm. He referred to the project as a "pioneering project" and indicated that we have a chance to make a real difference. He again stated that the data being collected on ROP through the Babies Count Project is the best that has been collected in the last two decades. What an advocate and promoter for this project!

THANKS to those agencies who are participating in the project–you are making a difference. Your efforts are appreciated, and you are setting an excellent example for others. Some agencies have been trained, but are not yet participating. It is time to get on the "pioneering wagon" and make a difference. Several states indicated during the annual meeting they will go back home and become a participant–GREAT NEWS!

Recently the major researcher on Optic Nerve Hypoplasia, Dr. Mark Borchert of Children’s Hospital in Los Angeles, expressed an interest in working with agencies to encourage families of children with Optic Nerve Hypoplasia to participate in the Babies Count project. Wouldn’t it be a real "difference maker" to provide data leading to the discovery of the causes of Optic Nerve Hypoplasia?

More information will be added to the website on the Babies Count Project. If you have ideas as to what should be included, please contact Burt Boyer, Early Childhood Project Leader: Phone – 502-899-2264; email email hidden; JavaScript is required

The "pioneering wagon" is headed your way!

Braille Version of Novel Released Prior to Print Version

For the first time in history (as far as APH can determine), the braille version of a novel was released prior to the premiere of the print version to the general public.

The braille edition of Mirel’s Daughter, written by Louisvillian Kay Gill, was presented to her husband, APH Board of Trustee member George Gill at APH on January 23, 2006. The print version of the novel was not launched by the author until February 15 at Spalding University in Louisville.

Mirel’s Daughter tells the story of a ten-year-old girl’s remarkable survival of the pogrom massacres in Ukrainian Russia at the end of World War I, and her escape to America. A haunting novel that illustrates the destructive power of war on one family and one child, Mirel’s Daughter is written about the author’s mother, and ultimately about the triumphant power of love.

Highly praised in book reviews for its poignant account of a young girl’s journey from terror to freedom, Mirel’s Daughter is an unforgettable tribute to the human spirit that has been compared to the Diary of Anne Frank.

To order a braille version of Mirel’s Daughter, call APH Customer Relations at 1-800-223-1839 and order catalog # A-B0489-00.

APH Executive in Residence Making a Difference

Dr. Cay Holbrook is having an interesting sabbatical and APH is the beneficiary!

Cay is serving as APH’s first Executive in Residence and, in that role is providing support and counsel for our research department and assisting with major policy issues. Cay, Associate Professor and Program Coordinator in Visual Impairment at the University of British Columbia, joined us in September and will be with us through November. Her duties include assisting us in developing procedures to find our next Executive in Residence. Watch our website and the APH News for information on future opportunities.

The National Library Service Turns 75

Historic photo of a narrator recording a talking book.

To commemorate the birthday of the National Library Service–actually the passage of the Pratt-Smoot Act that formed it–the APH Callahan Museum is planning a marathon recording session on Saturday, November 18th. We’ll be recording a commemorative version of Gulliver Travels. The estimate from our studio chief is that it will take about 13-14 hours.

A battalion of professional, volunteer, and community readers will gather in the company’s original recording studio to create a vocal quilt of the voices that folks use every day to gather the information they need.

Engineers working for the American Foundation for the Blind perfected the first long-playing record in 1933. APH began experimenting with recording books for the blind in 1936, and and had a working studio and record pressing operation in place by 1937. In 2005, APH produced more than 3.3 million cassettes of recorded material including popular fiction, magazines, non-fiction, textbooks, and technical manuals.

In recognition of the 75th anniversary of the congressional act that created the N.L.S., the Callahan Museum is taking APH back to its roots, back to our first recording, narrated by Hugh Sutton. Today, some readers are professional actors and broadcasters, familiar voices from the theatre, radio, and television. Others are teachers or volunteers who read textbooks or other materials for students. Some are neighbors who read a printed letter, or explain an application form. For more information, contact Mike Hudson in the Callahan Museum at (502) 899-2365.

Callahan Museum Tactile Mask-Making Workshop

A family of three making masks.

The Callahan Museum taught over forty children and adults to use tactile materials to put together a Halloween mask at a special workshop in October. The workshop examined world traditions of mask making, from carved wooden masks in Africa to papier-mâché masks put together for the European stage. Participants explored both naturally tactile materials, such as feathers and beads, and tactile materials made especially for education, such as Draftsman drawing film, recycled braille paper, and Quick-Draw Paper. Using a pre-formed and pre-painted plastic false face mask, children added a variety of materials to create a tactile princess, devil, and other highly imaginative characters. If you are interested in trying something similar in your own area, contact the Callahan Museum at 502-899-2365 for details about sources for materials. Be warned, this was a highly addictive activity! Most of our parents soon found themselves arm deep in straw, glue, and felt, discovering their own inner child!

APH Wants Your Input
Assessment Needs Survey 2007: New Directions

The purpose of this short survey (only six questions!) is to learn which diagnostic and psychological tests are being used with students who have visual impairments, and to determine which materials are currently most needed in accessible formats.

Who should respond to the survey? We hope that general education teachers, teachers of the visually impaired, school administrators, testing coordinators, state assessment and accountability staff, school psychologists, and instructional materials resource center staff will respond.

You may submit the survey online or print a copy to mail back to us by going to and clicking on the Accessible Tests Department, or go directly to

Submission deadline is December 1, 2006.

APH Welcomes New Ex Officio Trustees

Greg Schmieg, Roosevelt Warm Springs Institute for Rehabilitation, replacing David E. Parmer.

Harold W. Williams, Illinois Center for Rehabilitation and Education – Wood, replacing Sue Stealey.

Lisa Wright, Maryland State Department of Education, replacing Robb Farrell.

APH Travel Calendar

on the road with APH


November 2-4, 2006
National Braille Association;
Charlotte, NC

November 3-4, 2006
Utah AER Conference 2006;

November 5-7, 2006
Albany, NY

November 8-11, 2006
TASH 2006;
Baltimore, MD

November 9-11, 2006
MACRT-ASERT Professional Development Conference 2006;
Atlanta, GA

November 10-12, 2006
Louisville, KY

November 12-14, 2006
American Psychological Association: Task Force Meeting;
Washington, DC

November 13-14, 2006
IDEAS 508 2006 Conference;
Washington, DC

November 13-17, 2006
Legislative Visits on Capitol Hill;
Washington, DC

November 16, 2006
Virginia 2006 Workshop on Blindness and Visual Impairment;
Hampton, VA

November 17-18, 2006
Nevada State Early Intervention State Wide Workshop;
Las Vegas, NV


December 10-12, 2006
Society for Research on Educational Effectiveness Conference;
Lansdowne, VA


January 23-28, 2007
Orlando, FL

NFB Announcements

Web Portal

The National Federation of the Blind Jernigan Institute is pleased to announce the launch of its National Center for Blind Youth in Science (NCBYS) Web Portal (, a clearinghouse of information and resources related to blind youth and their participation in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).

The NCBYS Web Portal, funded under a grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF), provides easy, centralized access for teachers, students, parents, and others to gain the knowledge necessary to make STEM fields accessible to blind youth. Users can not only find high tech solutions but also low tech, simple tools and strategies to teach and learn STEM subjects.

This portal also provides users with a career section where they can read biographies and hear interviews of blind scientists and engineers, including Abraham Nemeth, developer of the Nemeth Code. Users can also explore career opportunities and science programs available to blind students, such as the EXcellence through Challenging Exploration and Leadership internship program and the NFB Youth Slam.

Please give us your feedback! Visit and complete a survey by November 30, 2006, and you will be entered into a drawing to win a $35 gift certificate from the NFB’s Independence Market!

Youth Slam 2007

Two hundred blind and low vision high school students from all around the United States will attend a four-day academy designed to engage and inspire the next generation of blind youth to consider careers falsely believed to be impossible for the blind.

From July 30-August 4, 2007 students will stay at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, to be mentored by blind role models during fun and challenging activities meant to build confidence and increase science literacy. Participants will also have the opportunity to attend various social events as well as workshops on topics such as leadership, career preparation, and blindness. The NFB Youth Slam will culminate in an inspiring rally at Baltimore’s Inner Harbor and a celebration at the center of innovation in the field of blindness-the NFB Jernigan Institute. With support from partners such as the Johns Hopkins University Whiting School of Engineering, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and others, the NFB Youth Slam will be a memorable experience for all involved!

For more information about the NFB Youth Slam including information for potential students and mentors, please visit, or email questions to email hidden; JavaScript is required

NEW! SLK Power Switches Now Available Separately

SLK Power Select Switch: 1-08612-00 — $175.00
SLK Scallop Switch: 1-08613-00 — $32.00
SLK Adaptable Tactile Switch: 1-08614-00 — $27.00
SLK Adaptable Stick Switch: 1-08615-00 — $50.00

The Sensory Learning Kit is an extensive set of sensory items and written materials that help the most significantly challenged learners increase their alertness, curiosity and specific skill development. Tools in this kit may be used to help create daily schedules, lesson plans, and alternative assessments for play or functional routines.

The switches make it easier for learners to operate battery-powered toys and AC-powered devices; these come in three styles:

  • Adaptable Stick Switch — thin yellow switch on turquoise base is high-contrast and easy to manipulate. Attach items to increase visual interest.
  • Adaptable Tactile Switch – comes with two attachable smooth plates for adding textures to increase interest
  • Scallop Switch — larger target area allows success as it responds to child’s touch
  • Power Select — This power control unit allows learners to operate AC=powered items using any of the three switches.

Also Available:
Sensory Learning Kit, complete: 1-08611-00 — $499.00
SLK Guidebook/Routines Book Set, Print: 7-08611-00 — $81.00

Spanish Guidebook for Tactile Connections

Photo of the Tactile Connections Kit

An augmentative communication system for learners who are nonverbal and who have multiple disabilities.

Spanish Guidebook (Large Print/CD): 7-08837-SP — $37.00

Also Available:
Complete Kit: 1-08837-00 — $ 115.00
Guidebook (Large Print/CD): 7-08837-00 — $ 37.00
Optional Braille Guidebook only: 5-08837-00 — $ 24.00

Additional Items Available Separately:
Accessories with Caulk: 1-08837-01 — $ 30.00

Tactile Connections: Symbols for Communication encourages the creation of a tactile card system that is individualized for use by visually impaired and blind learners who may have additional disabilities and/or lack a formal means of communication or literacy. Tactile symbols are graphic forms of communication, created when part of an object is mounted on a hand-sized card representing core vocabulary categories (e.g. people, places, actions, objects, etc.). This kit provides some of the essential components that assist in a system’s construction and application.

WARNING: Kit contains Small Parts. Not intended for children ages 5 and under without adult supervision.

Need Last-Minute Gifts? Think APH!

APH has many items that would be perfect for holiday gift-giving (or put these on your own wish list!)

Children’s Books

Dear Santa, Please Come to the 19th Floor

  • Dear Santa, Please Come to the 19th Floor (9-15015-00 — $10.00) print/braille full-color hardcover. No Quota.
  • Sylvester and the Magic Pebble (9-15008-00 — $10.00) print/braille full-color hardcover. No Quota.
  • Lots of Dots: Learning My ABC’s (1-10000-00 — $24.00) raised-line coloring book
  • SQUID Tactile Activities Magazine (Issue 1: 1-08862-01 — $45.00, Issue 2: 1-08862-02 — $45.00) fun activities in a variety of tactile methods


Cover of the Teen Scene DVD

  • Teen Scene: Portraits of Success (VHS: 1-30011-00 — $25.00, 1-30011-DVD — $25.00) four teenagers talk about successful living with low vision
  • Denver the Guide Dog (VHS: 1-30010-00 — $15.00)

Daily Living Products

  • Talking Watch (Stretch band: 1-03976-00 — $19.95, Leather: 1-03977-00 — $19.95). No Quota.
  • Wireless Personal Pager (1-03975-00 — $32.00) send signal to the portable receiver up to 100 feet away. No Quota.
  • Colorino (English: 1-03955-00 — $195.00 , Spanish: 1-03955-SP ) small hand-held talking unit that detects more than 100 nuances of color. No Quota.
  • "Kelvin" Talking Thermostat (1-03973-00 — $129.95) change temperature "hands-free" after programming. No Quota.
  • Talking Calculator (1-03971-00 — $17.95). No Quota.

Recreational Items

Four Rib-it-Balls, one of each available size

  • Rib-It-Balls (14": 1-07513-00 — $23.00, 18": 1-07514-00 — $39.00, 30": 1-07515-00 — $68.00)
  • Mini Rib-It-Ball (1-07512-00 — $14.00) No Quota.
  • Quick Pick Games (Counting, Math, and Braille Contractions) — self-correcting flashcards

Computer games designed especially for low vision players

  • Armadillo Army™ (D-03400-00 — $49.00) navigate successive mazes while avoiding the armadillos
  • Termite Torpedo™ (D-03470-00 — $39.00) rid Woodville of the invading termites by clearing all 12 playing fields
  • Talking Word Puzzles™ (D-03440-00 — $49.00) solve and create your own crossword puzzles
  • Toodle Tiles™ (D-00300-00 — $49.00) matching game based on Mahjong


Photo of a Book Port

  • Handi-Cassette II Stereo Tape Recorder/Player (1-07085-00 — $185.00) portable unit for listening to Talking Books or commercial cassettes as well as recording tapes
  • Book Port™ (1-07440-00 — $395.00) portable book-reading device for downloading and reading electronic text files (including or digital recorded books (including DAISY Digital Talking books). Plays MP3 files in stereo.


  • Book Wizard Reader™ (D-03531-00 — $49.00, D-03531-ED — $39.00) PC Software for reading electronic text files including digital recorded books
  • Money Talks™ (D-03560-00 — $49.00, D-03560-ED — $39.00) Accessible bank account management software package.
  • Verbal View Series ($50.00 per tutorial) tutorials that emphasize keyboard commands and descriptions of graphic components. Available for Windows XP, Word, and the internet.


  • APH T-Shirts ($10.00) No Quota.
  • APH Sweat Shirts ($15.00) No Quota.

Holiday Cards

Winter Solace Holiday Card

  • May Your Light Shine (W-HDCD-AA — $7.00) message: "May your light shine." No Quota.
  • Sunset on a Ski Slope (W-HDCD-AB — $7.00) message: "May the joy of your holidays be Evergreen." No Quota.
  • Winter Solace (W-HDCD-AD — $10.00) message: "Wishing you a beautiful holiday season." No Quota.
  • Snow Walker (1-05201-99 — $10.00) message: "Happy holidays." No Quota.

For complete descriptions or more suggestions, watch for the new Bookstore/Gift Catalog, coming soon, or look on our website

To order any of these gifts, call toll-free 1-800-223-1839, Monday-Friday, 8:00am – 4:30pm Eastern time.

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.

Runaway: Stories
by Alice Munro: T-N1577-10 — $77.00
Eight short stories about women of all ages and circumstances. (Adult — Fiction)

Charming Grace
by Deborah Smith: T-N1575-00 — $89.00
Superstar comes to a small town to film a movie about a local hero killed in the line of duty, only to be thwarted by the agent’s widow. Explicit descriptions of sex. (Adult — Fiction)

The King and I: Uncensored Tale of Luciano Pavarotti’s Rise to Fame by his Manager, Friend, and Sometime Adversary
by Herbert Breslin and Anne Midgette: T-N1575-10 — $76.00
Luciano Pavarotti’s manager/publicist candidly recounts his thirty-six year relationship with the opera singer. (Adult — Non-Fiction)

Indigo’s Star
by Hilary McKay: T-N1573-70 — $43.00
After a long illness, twelve-year-old Indigo returns to school filled with dread but finds the courage to stick up for the boy who has replaced him as the target of school bullies. (*AR #81579, RL 4.9, Points: 7.0)

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

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
  • Scott Blome, Director, Communications
  • Burt Boyer, Early Childhood Project Leader, Research
  • Brian Dougherty, Graphic Designer, Communications
  • Frank Hayden, Manager, Technical Research
  • Barbara Henderson, Project Leader, Accessible Tests
  • Micheal Hudson, Director, Callahan Museum
  • Nancy Lacewell, Director, Government Relations
  • Julia Myers, Director, Resource Services
  • Becki Moody, Support Specialist, Communications
  • Artina Paris-Jones, Assistant, Field Services
  • Tristan Pierce, Multiple Disabilities Project Leader, Research

Bob Brasher, Vice President, Advisory Services and Research

For additional recent APH News, click the following:

October Issue –
September Issue –
August 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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