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

November 2008

Exciting New APH Products Announced!

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

History in the Making: The Story of the American Printing House for the Blind, 1858-2008

APH’s 140th Annual Meeting, "Celebrating 150 Years of Building Independence," Full of Surprises!

Mike May

As always, the APH Annual Meeting of Ex Officio Trustees and Special Guests had its own unique character. As Mike May framed it in his inspiring keynote presentation, "There’s always a way!" APH and its partners have been proving his point for 150 years! The Thursday evening commemorative banquet was made very special by the 495 attendees which included APH employees, their families, APH Ex Officio Trustees, Board Members, and other special guests. Those attending also enjoyed the introduction of the new APH history book and the inspiring Essay Contest winners.

APH continues to be a company "finding a way," as highlighted in Dr. Tinsley’s "State of the Company" address and by the Ex Officio Trustee Advisory Committee reports, as offered by chairs Jackie Denk (KS) and Tom Winton (NC).

This year, the Annual Meeting personality also shined through the facilitation of all general sessions by pairs of Ex Officio Trustees, as well as the participation of the five APH scholars, made up of first time direct service attendees, nominated by Trustees. Additional product sessions were also well attended.

A still frame from Natalie Barraga's video acceptance of the APH Wings of Freedom Award

What will folks remember most about this year’s Annual Meeting? The wonderful commemorative dinner with Mike May and the Essay Award winners? The touching APH "Wings of Freedom" Award acceptance video by Natalie Barraga? (Also available in Quicktime format) The Prison Braille Forum? The many related meetings? The launching of the new Louis Database and eCommerce systems? The introduction of many exciting new products? The Hall of Fame Inductions of Drs. Sally Mangold and Richard Welsh? The talented Insights Art winners and their families?

APH President Tuck Tinsley and Perkins President Steven Rothstein holding the new APH Perkins Braillewriter
Well, hopefully all of those things rated highly with attendees, but, perhaps most memorable will be APH President Tuck Tinsley and Perkins President Steven Rothstein’s clever introduction of the new APH Perkins Braillewriter! Their announcement was an exciting surprise — long dreamed of by many in our field, including our APH Ex Officio Trustees!

For more information on the new APH Perkins Brailler, visit the October APH News.

In closing, the attendance at Annual Meeting was even higher than last year, the evaluations were good (so far), the food was plentiful, and the networking was outstanding.

We thank all who made this another very special and unique event. Please make your plans now to join us October 15-17, 2009, once again at the beautiful Hilton Seelbach Hotel, for the 141st Annual Meeting.

Here are additional memories of our very special celebration. (Click on additional memories for an Annual Meeting photo album.)

Attendees, if you completed an evaluation form while in Louisville we thank you very much for your input. If you did not, you still have an opportunity to help us by taking a couple of minutes to complete and submit the electronic version.

We thank you for your good counsel.

APH 150th Anniversary Essay Contest

One year after the APH 150th Anniversary Essay Contest was announced — inviting people who are blind and visually impaired to share their thoughts about how APH aided their personal independence through an essay — the contest was wrapped up during the 2008 Annual Meeting.

Of the 86 entries received from all over the nation, first, second, and third place winners were chosen in five different categories. Eight of those fifteen accomplished writers traveled to Louisville for the 150th Commemorative Dinner on October 2.

Portions of the first place essays were recorded by our studio professionals, Jack Fox and Jill Fox, for presentation during the ceremony. The award winners were greeted by APH President Tuck Tinsley to accept their prize ribbons and gift certificates for APH products. Many guests that evening said the essay portion of the program was a highlight of the event.

All first, second, and third place essays will soon be available for download from the APH website in accessible formats, including audio. Go to:

Again, congratulations to the winners, and thanks to everyone who took the challenge!

Essay Winners: (Back row, left to right) Doreen Bohm, Josh Pearson, Ibraheem Shahadat; (Front row, left to right) Carla Hayes, Chase Crispin, Alex Follo, Mohamedhadi Somji, and Deborah Kendrick.

Essay Winners: (Back row, left to right) Doreen Bohm, Josh Pearson, Ibraheem Shahadat; (Front row, left to right) Carla Hayes, Chase Crispin, Alex Follo, Mohamedhadi Somji, and Deborah Kendrick.

2008 Hall of Fame Induction

Sally Mangold's Hall of Fame plaque
Rick Welsh's Hall of Fame plaque

Bas Relief Plaques of the 2008 Hall of Fame for Leaders and Legends of the Blindness Field Inductees, Sally Mangold and Rick Welsh, are now installed in the Hall of Fame.

Biographies of these legends, written by Dean and Naomi Tuttle, can be found on the Hall of Fame website.

Soon the 2008 Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, beautifully hosted by Bernadette Kappen and Susan Spungin, will appear on the site as well.

Veteran’s Day Invitation

Russ Williams, right, head of the blind program at Hines V.A. Hospital, observes a lesson, circa 1950.

The APH Museum is sponsoring a special program for Veteran’s Day 2008 honoring veterans and their contributions to individual independence. Thousands of American soldiers, sailors, and airmen returned home from their service without something they had before they left: their vision. Reclaiming the Dream: The Story of Rehabilitation for Blinded Veterans explores the birth of modern rehabilitation for people with vision loss on Saturday, November 15th from 12:30 to 3 p.m. The program includes a history of the origins of orientation and mobility by Dr. Richard Welsh, a screening of the classic 1953 documentary "The Long Cane," and the personal stories of recent graduates of V.A. programs. To register or get more information, call Mike Hudson at 800/223-1839, ext. 365 or email email hidden; JavaScript is required.

Photo: Russ Williams, right, head of the blind program at Hines V.A. Hospital, observes a lesson, circa 1950.

NIMAC Offers Basic Training Opportunities

The National Instructional Materials Access Center (NIMAC) will again offer "NIMAC Basics for Authorized Users" and "Advanced NIMAC for Authorized Users" webcast trainings in November. The "Basics" webcast will occur on Tuesday, November 18th and the "Advanced" webcast on Thursday, November 20th. Both webcasts are free, will last no more than an hour, and will begin at 2:00 p.m. Eastern Time. Simply email email hidden; JavaScript is required to register and receive login instructions. Hope you can join us!

Prison Braille Forum "STANDING ROOM ONLY" at Annual Meeting

Prison Braille Program

The APH Public Affairs staff hosted 60 participants at the 7th annual National Prison Braille Forum on Thursday, October 2, in conjunction with Annual Meeting. Several former offenders, who are successfully transcribing braille, were among the participants and proved to be an inspiration to the rest of the group.

Following the Forum, about 18 people took a tour of KCI Braille Services at the Kentucky Correctional Institution for Women. Many indicated that they were impressed with the structure of the program and the enthusiasm of the inmate transcribers. The inmates are always grateful for visits from Forum participants because they offer good advice and encouragement.
The number of programs throughout the country continues to increase, as does the amount of braille produced. All Forum participants agreed that during the coming year the National Prison Braille Network needs to accomplish the following:

  • Publish guidelines for establishing and operating a prison braille program.
  • Create a network website that is independent from APH, but linked to it (and to other related sites).
  • Promote the National Prison Braille Reentry Initiative and work with the federal government to support the effort nationwide.
  • Update the National Prison Braille Directory.

A major challenge facing this coalition is ensuring the successful reentry of qualified inmates as braille transcribers. Gary Mudd and Nancy Lacewell will be working during the coming months to secure advice and support from the federal government for the National Prison Braille Reentry Initiative. The suggestion was made at the 2008 Forum — assuming federal support is provided — that APH initiate discussions with other organizations interested in braille literacy, leading toward the development and production of training workshops and videos for prison braille programs across the U.S.

At the request of the American Correctional Association, Nancy has submitted an article about prison braille programs for publication in their national magazine. She will present a workshop on prison braille programs at the ACA’s upcoming 2009 Winter Conference in Florida in January, along with a former inmate who now transcribes braille outside of prison, and a former warden who now manages a prison braille program as a volunteer.

Anyone wanting to join the National Prison Braille Network should contact Nancy at 800/239-1839, ext. 339, or email hidden; JavaScript is required.

APH Goes to Scott State Prison

Three Accessible Textbook staff traveled to Milledgeville, Georgia to meet with the braille program participants at the Scott State Prison Braille Transcription Program led by retired Ex Officio Trustee Marie Amerson.

Jane Thompson, Director of the Accessible Textbook Department, presented to the 27 participants on employment opportunities for released offenders, demonstrated APH products that will be helpful to them when transcribing textbooks, and gave an overview of the American Printing House for the Blind. They were excited to see and use the new APH Perkins Braillewriter.

Yan Zhang, APH Tactile Graphic Designer, discussed principles and practices to create high quality tactile graphics in textbooks while Jayma Hawkins, APH Accessible Media Editor, discussed the Updated Textbook Specifications and the BANA Updates.

Jane, Jayma and Yan also spent time with the transcribers answering specific questions on textbooks they were working on. All of the men were excited to get the additional information and training. One inmate said, "It’s nice to know APH cares so much about us to come all this way and offer training."

Book Building with KSB Students

APH Research staff Rosanne Hoffmann and Karen Poppe assisted students in building their tactile books. Photographer: Ann Travis.

On October 22, APH conducted a tactile-book-building activity booth at Kentucky School for the Blind’s "Drop-Everything-And-Read (DEAR) Kick-Off Carnival." Students were given the opportunity to build two types of tactile books-either a pumpkin-shaped book enhanced by student-composed text OR a flip-style, Halloween-themed tactile counting book (with lots of goblin, bat, and haunted house stickers!).

APH Technology Group Welcomes New Member

The APH Research Department welcomes Ken Perry as the newest programmer working on educational software and hardware. Ken previously worked as an Assistive Technology Specialist at the Victoria Disability Resource Center in British Columbia, Canada. He is retired from the United States Air Force where he was a telecommunications specialist working with both analog and digital equipment. Ken is a graduate of Utah’s Weber University with a BS in Software Engineering.

Azer’s Interactive Periodic Table Study Set

Bob Brasher, Samir Azer, Karen Poppe, and Will Evans

APH staff members Bob Brasher, Karen Poppe, and Will Evans, present Samir Azer (second from left) with the product he inspired. Samir teaches science at the Kentucky School for the Blind.

This interactive study set can assist in the instruction and demonstration of concepts related to the arrangement of the periodic table, atomic structure, ionic and covalent bonding, and balancing of chemical equations to ALL students who benefit from a hands-on, interactive model.

For more information about this product, visit the September APH News

APH Travels to Notre Dame for Vision Impaired Solutions for Total Access

This first annual technology fair took place at the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, IN on Thursday, October 16, and APH was there! APHers Sandi Baker and Maria Delgado exhibited an array of APH’s newest software and technology products for 100 Teachers of the Visually Impaired, Vision Rehabilitation Teachers, parents, and consumers from Northern Indiana and Southwestern Michigan. Attendees sat in on sessions that included a panel discussion about access to competitive employment opportunities and affordable technology solutions, information on how students who are blind/visually impaired can have a hands-on science laboratory experience, and more. An exhibit "hall" featured more than a dozen vendors who demonstrated products and talked with attendees about services and products available to them.

A Model of Effective Federal Quota use: Minnesota Teachers Demonstrate APH Products

Jean Martin, very recently retired Ex-Officio Trustee and Minnesota State Consultant of the Department of Education Resource Center, developed a unique partnership with Minnesota Teachers for Students who are Blind or Visually Impaired. The APH/Accessible Materials Community of Practice was formed to ensure the provision of high quality educational materials in a timely manner to students who are blind and visually impaired.

The Community of Practice has developed fiscally sound procedures to promote cost efficiency of federal quota funds. Minnesota uses a student specific ordering process and maintains an inventory of key equipment and materials at the Minnesota Resource Center: Blind/Visually Impaired. The Community of Practice also pilots and demonstrates new APH materials, and has increased awareness in Teachers for Students who are Blind or Visually Impaired around the state to order materials responsibly.

The Community of Practice encourages the provision of educational materials (braille, large print, audio material) to students who are blind or visually impaired at the same time as sighted peers. They have established a best practice ordering process to maximize efficiency and improve timeliness of braille, large print, audio material, and tangible aids. They have also provided equal access to information through an improved ordering process and collaboration with the Communication Center at Minnesota State Services for the Blind. In addition, the Community of Practice promotes literacy by ensuring APH materials are available to any student who needs them.

An extension of the APH Accessible Materials Community of Practice is to address funding issues collaboratively with the Minnesota Department of Education and the Communication Center of Minnesota State Services for the Blind (SSB) through an interagency agreement. SSB is the agency that provides braille and audio materials to students and other consumers in Minnesota. Jean Martin’s philosophy is to develop strong, collaborative relationships in agencies responsible for the provision of services to students who are blind or visually impaired. In Minnesota, these agencies include:

  • Minnesota Department of Education
  • MN State Services for the Blind (SSB)
  • SSB Communication Center
  • MN State Academy for the Blind (MSAB)
  • Statewide Vision Network (SVN)
  • Local Education Agencies (LEAs) Teachers of Blind/Visually Impaired
  • American Printing House for the Blind (APH)

Current members of the APH/Accessible Materials Community of Practice include the following Teachers for Students who are Blind or Visually Impaired: Joya Bromeland, Carol Earle, Sally Hazelhoff, Julie Kochevar, Judy Messina, Judith Normandin.

Photo: Carol Earle, Jean Martin, Judy Messina, and Julie Kochevar demonstrate products at one of our statewide networking meetings.

APH Welcomes New Ex Officio Trustees

Cathy Nadberazny, the Pennsylvania Department of Education, replacing Frances Warkomski.

Joan Breslin Larson, the Minnesota Department of Education, replacing Jean D. Martin.

APH Travel Calendar

on the road with APH


November 6, 2008
Missouri School for the Blind;
St. Louis, MO

November 7-8, 2008
KCB State Convention;
KSB in Louisville, KY

November 7-8, 2008
Indiana AER;
Spencer, IN

November 10-12, 2008
APH Product Demonstration Fair;
Bronx, NY

November 11-13, 2008
YMCA-USA Diversity Conference;
Louisville, KY

November 13-15, 2008
MACRT/ASERT 2008 Conference;
Birmingham, AL

November 18-19, 2008
North Carolina Conference on Exceptional Children;
Greensboro, NC

November 21-22, 2008
NIP – Making It Count: Math Skills for Students Who Are Blind and Visually Impaired;
Los Angeles, CA


January 8-11, 2009
2009 International Consumer Electronics Show;
Las Vegas, NV

January 28-31, 2009
ATIA 2009;
Orlando, FL

APH Harvest Sale 2008

Reap a harvest of savings on selected APH products with APH’s Harvest Sale 2008, October 1 through December 31. As always, first come, first served.

NEW! History in the Making: The Story of the American Printing House for the Blind, 1858-2008

Catalog Number: W-HISTORY-APH — $39.95 plus $5.00 shipping and handling

Not available with Quota funds.

History in the Making: The Story of the American Printing House for the Blind, 1858-2008

This beautiful history book by former APH Museum director Carol Tobe was commissioned to celebrate the company’s 150th anniversary. Packed with rare details about the origins of APH, this 180 page book features rich photography, reproductions of tactile pages embossed from vintage printing plates, and an accessible audio book version read by APH narrator Jack Fox. The hardbound 12" x 12" book was designed by nationally known graphic artist Julius Friedman and features color photography by Geoffrey Carr. Five tactile pages from vintage books embossed on original APH presses using original plates are scattered throughout the book.

NEW! i-vu™ Handheld Electronic Magnifier

1-07580-00 — $229.00 plus $10.00 shipping charge

Not available with Quota funds.

i-vu™ Handheld Electronic Magnifier

This highly portable electronic magnifier serves as your own Personal Vision Assistant!

The i-vu™ Handheld Electronic Magnifier helps with reading books, menus, bills, seeing pictures, and working on hobbies. Easy-to-use, compact, and rechargeable.


  • 5X – 20X magnification
  • Color and inverse modes for enhanced reading
  • Light for reading in dim areas
  • Freeze frame option for easier viewing
  • 2-inch LCD widescreen
  • Power save/auto shut off
  • Rechargeable battery, up to 3 hours of continuous use
  • USB charge option
  • Low battery indicator
  • Pocket size: extremely portable and light
  • Weighs approx. 4 oz., measures only 3" x 5"

NEW! Consumable Number Lines

Large Print: 1-03012-00 — $10.00
Braille/Tactile: 1-03013-00 — $10.00

APH’s Consumable Number Lines are great for reinforcing beginning number concepts such as counting, sequencing, number recognition, number relationships, addition, and subtraction. Use the blank number lines to provide a concrete representation when introducing fractions, decimals, or negative numbers.

Consumable Number Lines, Large Print:

  • 10 blank number lines with numbers 0-10
  • 10 blank number lines with 11 points
  • 10 blank number lines with numbers 0-20
  • 10 blank number lines with 21 points in 2 colors

Consumable Number Lines, Braille/Tactile:

  • 5 raised-line tactile number lines with numbers 0-10
  • 5 raised-line tactile number lines with numbers 0-20
  • 5 blank raised-line tactile number lines with 11 points
  • 10 braille embossed number lines with numbers 0-10
  • 10 blank braille embossed number lines with 11 points
  • 5 braille embossed number lines with numbers 0-20

NEW! Transparent CCTV Rulers

Yellow (set of six): 1-03008-00 — $10.75
Clear (set of six): 1-03009-00 — $10.75

These see-through vinyl rulers make it easier to measure items magnified by a CCTV (closed-circuit television). They measure 7" x 1 1/8" are marked with one of six different increments: English 1/8", 1/4", 1/2", and 1"; and metric 1 mm and 1 cm. Rulers are screen printed with black ink on high-contrast transparent vinyl.


  • Set of six transparent rulers (clear or yellow, depending on which kit you order):
    • 1 each, English: 1/8", 1/4", 1/2", and 1"
    • 1 each, Metric: 1 mm and 1 cm
  • Vinyl zipper pouch, made of non-glare, heavy-gauge vinyl featuring a zip-lock closure, 5-hole punched to fit standard 2- and 3-ring binders, measures 7 1/2" x 10 5/8"
  • Print and braille instructions

NEW! Growing My Way – Part 2
The Developmental Impacts of Visual Impairment (24 to 36 months of age)

1-30036-DVD — $149.95

Growing My Way - Part 2: The Developmental Impacts of Visual Impairment (24 to 36 months of age)

Related Product:
Growing My Way – Part 1
The Developmental Impacts of Visual Impairment (3 to 18 months of age)

1-30035-DVD — $149.95

Note: The VIPS series videos are not available with Quota funds.

This new video is part of the VIPS Video Library from Visually Impaired Preschool Services. Follow the same five children from Part 1 and their parents as their development is tracked at 6-month intervals, from 24 months to 36 months of age. These children include a typically developing child, two children with low vision, and two children with significant visual impairments. The series highlights what adaptations the children and parents make to deal with visual impairment at different ages and developmental stages. Each of the Growing My Way DVDs contains three video programs.

Did You Know We’ve Revised a Classic?
On the Way to Literacy Handbook, 2nd Edition

Print Edition (with CD of accessible files): 8-77520-00 — $54.00
Braille Edition (with CD of accessible files): 6-77520-00 — $112.00

This updated handbook draws upon research and practice to guide teachers and parents in supporting a young child’s first steps towards literacy. Suggests ways to use everyday events to support a child’s learning in key areas:

  • Early communication and language-the ability to communicate, speak, and listen with understanding
  • Concepts-understandings, formed through experience, that give meaning to language the child learns
  • Skills needed for learning through touch and for reading braille
  • Knowledge about written language-including awareness of the many ways print and braille are used, knowledge of print and braille conventions, and the relationship of letters and letter-sounds

Approaches and activities are adaptable for older children, as well as those with additional disabilities, including children who may use another means of communicating, such as symbol communication system. Appendices list additional sources of information to help readers meet each child’s unique and changing needs.

APH Braille Book Corner

APH offers a number of recreational books in braille (Quota funds can be used). Each of these titles was originally transcribed and produced by APH for the National Library Service which has graciously granted permission for this offering. As usual, these titles have been added to the APH Louis Database where you can find thousands of titles produced in accessible formats.

Note: all books are produced upon receipt of orders, therefore, please allow approximately 8 weeks for delivery.

The Innocent Man: Murder and Injustice in a Small Town
by John Grisham, Braille: T-N1694-50 — $107.00
Chronicles the 1987 arrest and conviction of a former Oakland A’s pitcher and his friend for the rape and murder of a twenty-one-year-old cocktail waitress five years earlier. Grisham examines the effect of DNA testing and a faulty original investigation on the men’s eventual exoneration. Nonfiction, Upper Grades. * (AR Quiz #111257, BL 8.1, Pts. 20.0)

The Bar Code Tattoo
by Suzanne Weyn, Braille: T-N1657-80 — $52.50
In the year 2025 the government tattoos a bar code on everyone at age seventeen. When sixteen-year-old Kayla’s father commits suicide after receiving a belated bar code, Kayla joins a protest group led by classmate Mfumbe. Soon they are on the run. Some violence. Science Fiction, Senior High readers. * (AR Quiz #82286, BL 5.0, Pts. 8.0)

A Dream to Follow: Return to Red River, Book 1
by Lauraine Snelling, Braille: T-N1673-70 — $88.00
North Dakota, 1893. In this continuation of the Red River saga, seventeen-year-old aspiring journalist Thorliff Bjorklund applies to college. But once accepted Thorliff faces a dilemma–follow his dreams or stay and help his family on the farm. He turns to God for help. Fiction, Senior High and older readers. * (AR Quiz #53753, BL 5.1, Pts. 13.0)

Accidents of Nature
by Harriet McBryde Johnson, Braille: T-N1692-40 — $55.00
North Carolina, 1970. Seventeen-year-old Jean, who has cerebral palsy, attends Camp Courage, where for the first time she meets other teens with disabilities. Her radical, new friend Sara directs an anti-telethon skit and changes Jean’s perceptions of the normal world. Some descriptions of sex. Fiction, Senior High and older readers. *(AR Quiz #106126, BL 4.5, Pts. 8.0)

Gather Together in My Name
by Maya Angelou, Braille: T-N1691-00 — $56.00
A continuation of I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, this memoir begins at the end of World War II. Angelou recalls being an unwed mother at seventeen and becoming a prostitute for an older man who deceived her. Some descriptions of sex and some strong language. Biography, Senior High and older readers. * (AR Quiz #100011, BL 5.2, Pts. 8.0)

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

APH News Credits

Dr. Tuck Tinsley

Malcolm Turner, APH Website Coordinator

Thanks to the following APH staff:

  • Cindy Amback, Support Specialist, Field Services
  • Sandi Baker, Field Services Representative
  • Scott Blome, Director, Communications
  • Will Evans, Products and Services Advisor
  • Mike Hudson, Director, APH Museum
  • Nancy Lacewell, Director, Government and Community Services
  • Stephanie Lancaster, Graphic Designer, Communications
  • Julia Myers, Director, Resource Services and NIMAC
  • Karen Poppe, Tactile Graphics Project Leader, Research
  • Larry Skutchan, Technology Project Leader, Research
  • Becky Snider, Coordinator, Public Affairs
  • Gwynn Stewart, Support Specialist, Communications
  • Jane Thompson, Director, Accessible Textbooks

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 –

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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