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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 2011

Great Products from APH!

Read on to learn about new product-related information!

2011 Annual Meeting Takes the Triple Crown

Ralph Brewer, Superintendent Emeritus of the Tennessee School for the Blind, received APH’s highest honor, the Wings of Freedom Award. Here Brewer poses with (left) Burt Boyer (APH) and Tuck Tinsley.

Zickel Award recipients Dr. Richard Woodcock and Dr. Lynne Jaffe pose with APH’s Barbara Henderson. The award was presented for work on the landmark Woodcock-Johnson III Braille Adaptation.

A unique multimedia piece called "Camp Fire" was created by Julianna Youngeun Lee from Vienna, VA. Juliana poses with her excited parents.

See More Pictures from Annual Meeting 2011

It’s not often in the horse racing world that contenders rise to the challenge of winning the prestigious Triple Crown, but the 143rd Annual Meeting of Ex Officio Trustees in Louisville did just that this year. It may have been the most exciting three days in APH history! From the sounding of the call to the post by the Churchill Downs official bugler until we crossed the finish line (and beyond), the champion Ex Officio Trustees, thoroughbred presenters, phenomenal special guests, and high stakes award winners led everyone to the winner’s circle.

W. C. Fields once said, "Horse sense is the thing a horse has that keeps him from betting on people," but it was the people who made this one great. First out of the starting gate was "I Have a Dream," with jockey Annette Reichman on board. Her courageous presentation set the tone for the rest of the meeting and demonstrated the power of following your dreams. Breaking out right behind Annette was champion and Wings of Freedom award winner Ralph Brewer, whose legacy inspires those who have been running strong for years and also for the "youngsters" just entering the race.

Another great filly led the way through the first turn as a partnership between Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library and APH was announced. A highly talented pack of newcomers added strength to the field as the APH Scholars and Prison Braille Forum Scholars joined us in the Jockey Club. It was tough for everyone to peruse the morning line and make their picks for product training and input sessions. With a crowded field of great "jockeys" who had products like the Braille Plus 18, Sense of Science Astronomy, Talking APH Maps, the Boehm 3, Building on Patterns, and others, deciding on win, place, and show was a daunting task but one with a big payoff!

In the home stretch, we rode along the rail to discover how APH’s new museum exhibit highlights and strengthens the professional partnership between APH, our Ex Officio Trustees, and the federal government.

We crossed the finish line in a blur, reminded of the words of the ancient Roman poet and author Ovid, who said, "The spirited horse, which will try to win the race of its own accord, will run even faster if encouraged." Thanks to everyone who attended Annual Meeting for providing that encouragement!

Annual Meeting 2011 Photos

Additional memories of our very special celebration: The 2011 Annual Meeting Photo Album

11th Annual National Prison Braille Forum (NPBF) Draws a Crowd

Ex Officio Trustees Jim Downs (GA) and Leslie Durst (IN) talked about the challenges of producing textbooks for the blind and visually impaired students in their state.

Ruth McKinney, Braille Institute, voiced concerns about braille literacy and the availability of braille books.

Attending the National Prison Braille Forum for the first time were forum scholars (l-r) Roy Pidcock (WA), Rick Rosenblatt (MD), and Marshall Bautista (ID).

On October 12, the APH Prison Braille Advisory Committee hosted a day-long Forum to discuss issues related to braille production facilities in corrections settings. This year, 71 people attended from 20 different states. As far as we know, there are currently 36 prison braille programs in the U.S., and 17 were represented at this year’s Forum.

Highlights of the Forum included reports by two groups that are administering Second Chance Act grants designed to help participants in prison braille programs establish successful careers upon reentry. A team of professionals from the Accessible Media Access Center (AMAC) at Georgia Tech in Atlanta has developed and will soon be pilot testing a 30-lesson curriculum for programs across the country to use as participants learn braille and prepare for reentry. AMAC is working in partnership with the Mountain View Correctional Facility in Texas on this expansive project, which will be completed by October, 2012.

Another impressive report was presented by a team from the Miami Correctional Facility in Bunker Hill, Indiana. The grant program being implemented in Indiana includes expansion of the braille facility at Miami to include production of educational materials in electronic media and to assist individuals upon reentry. Both of the Second Chance Act projects will provide participants with opportunities to learn technology skills while incarcerated that they can use following release.

Mary Nelle McLennan, APH’s Braille Authority of North America (BANA) representative, gave a compelling report about recent and upcoming changes in braille codes and the publication of resource materials. The information she provided will be invaluable to braille transcribers across the country.

The National Prison Braille Network (NPBN) encourages everyone interested to join this network of professionals – free of charge. For more information, contact Nancy Lacewell at email hidden; JavaScript is required (502-899-2339 or 800-223-1839 ext. 339).

BANA Publishes Part Two of Article on the Evolution of Braille

The Braille Authority of North America (BANA) has recently released the second segment of a three-part article on the evolution of braille. In this piece, BANA focuses on the complexities of code building as well as on current challenges in transcription, translation, and backtranslation of braille.

Parts One and Two of "The Evolution of Braille: Can the Past Help Plan the Future?" are now posted on the BANA website at: The final segment of this significant article will be released in early December. BANA will announce its publication through press releases and email announcements.

BANA will meet on November 3–6, 2011, in Baltimore, MD. Guests are invited to attend BANA Board meetings and to observe the deliberations. The Board’s agenda includes reports from all of BANA’s committees as well as from September’s World Congress Braille21 conference in Leipzig, Germany. If you are interested in attending the BANA meeting, please contact Chair Judy Dixon to reserve space.

Follow BANA’s work via BANA-Announce, a one-way email list that shares news and information. To join this list, send a blank email to email hidden; JavaScript is required and follow the directions in the confirmation email.

Tactile Books Take Off!

Books with tactile illustrations offer individuals with visual impairments, from birth to adulthood, information and an avenue to enjoyment not obtainable by other means. In early October, five very special tactile books—or TiBs (tactile illustrated books) as they are called in Europe— "took off" from APH, on their way to Prague, Czech Republic. They were the U.S. entries in the Typhlo & Tactus international tactile book competition, selected by a panel of seven U. S. judges, who met at APH to examine, enjoy, and enthuse about the merits of TiBs in general, and in particular, those sent to APH by U.S. authors.

Typhlo & Tactus (T&T) is an organization which includes western and eastern European nations. It exists to improve the quality and quantity of tactile books available to children with visual impairments in member countries. Since 2000, they have conducted biennial, highly successful tactile book competitions. In Italy alone, this year’s competition generated more than 200 entries, each vying to be one of five books selected by Italian judges to be sent on to the international level of the competition in Prague.

In the past, the competition was open only to T&T members; winners of past competitions were then mass produced by the tactile books workshop, Les Doigts Qui Revent (Dreaming Fingers) using European Union funds. This year’s tactile book competition, however, was opened to a worldwide audience. APH acted as the U.S. national contact organization, publicizing the competition, directing participants to competition guidelines, and accepting and judging U.S. entries.

Thank you to everyone—those who submitted tactile books and our judges—for your participation in the 2011 Typhlo & Tactus book competition! The U.S. winners are: Augustina’s Sandcastle, by Kathleen J. Michaelson; The Boo-Boo Book, by Carla Robertson; Bunny is Brown: A Colorful Story of Spring, by Rebecca Lowery; Let’s Learn Shapes with Shapely-CAL, by Holly Keller; and What’s In My Bedroom, by Sue Parker-Strafaci & Ruth McKinney.

On November 10th, five TiBs from each participating country will be evaluated by an international panel of judges and one winning entry will be chosen. Ten books will be recognized as outstanding. Read the December APH News for the final T&T competition results!

Our panel of judges included adults with visual impairment, TVIs, the parent of a blind child, and a former KSB student.

Yes We Can! Yes We Did!

APH’s Gary Mudd and Suzette Wright with David Dotson, President of the Dollywood Foundation.

APH/Dolly’s Parton’s Imagination Library Partnership Website Links Children and Parents to Books and a Range of Resources

As Dolly herself phrased it, "The Little Engine That Could. . . did!" This past June, APH and the Dollywood Foundation announced a partnership, with plans to expand Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library program (DPIL) to provide young blind and visually impaired children with accessible books.

This September promises made in June became a reality. The APH/DPIL Partnership website was launched, located under a hot button at APH’s main web page. It features audio files of Imagination Library books, available as free downloads. NLS gave consent for the files to be encrypted with the NLS network key. More than 22 audio books are already at the site; audio books will be added each month until most of the 75 titles in the collection are available to children and their families. And very exciting, beginning in 2012, the Partnership will make it possible for APH to provide an annual selection of print/braille Imagination Library books that will be free to eligible families, available on Quota, or which can be purchased from APH at low cost. Five titles will be selected each year for production as print/braille books.

At Annual Meeting this year, David Dotson, Dollywood Foundation President, along with APH’s Gary Mudd and Suzette Wright, acquainted attendees with all aspects of the Partnership—which not only expands the number of accessible books for young children, but, through the APH/DPIL website, connects parents to tools through a wide range of resources. Information at the website is tailored to help families locate and bring even more accessible books and materials into their homes.

At the APH/Dolly Parton Imagination Library website parents will find links to:

  • NLS, where they can register their child for this important service
  • the Louis database and expedited searches for Imagination Library books, other children’s books, and to print/braille books from many sources
  • the APH shopping site and APH tactile illustrated books, print/braille books, and materials related to emergent literacy
  • other national and international providers of children’s books in accessible formats
  • and to free downloadable PDFs that provide parents with an introduction to building a foundation for literacy for their child and suggestions for sharing a variety of books

Successful partnerships are built by the individuals within each organization who put their shoulders to the wheel of a common goal. Thanks go to the Dollywood Foundation staff and to the many APH staff members in Studio, Communications, Research, Public Affairs, and Resource Services, who worked together to bring this vision to fruition. Visit the APH/DPIL website and see for yourself the "power of partnership!"

Tactile Yoga Mat!

Cindy Rogers teaches a yoga class using the VIYM.

Yoga gains popularity every day as a form of exercise and relaxation. If you are interested in learning yoga but think you may have difficulty with orientation, the Visually Impaired Yoga Mat (VIYM) may help. Created by Tracy Curly and endorsed by Cindy Rogers (see APH Feature: Yoga), the mat comes with two instructional DVDs to help you practice at home between your community-based yoga classes.

I am in complete awe of Tracy & VIYM®. In working with VIYM during the past few months, I have learned so much about the perception on "the mat" of both sighted and VI students. For someone who is blind or visually impaired, beginning or continuing the practice of yoga, the VIYM is an invaluable tool. The tactile cues on the mat allow one to fully embrace & truly "feel" the yoga experience.

–Cindy Rogers, Yoga Instructor, Four Senses Yoga

I love the VIYM yoga mat and DVD series. I am a beginning yoga student with low vision and cataracts and am very sensitive to light and glare, which makes practicing yoga at a traditional studio uncomfortable due to the overhead lighting. The verbal instructions in the DVD series are clear and easy to follow whether you have no vision or low vision; they enable me to move through the posture sequences with my eyes closed. As a beginner, it is so much more relaxing compared to struggling to see the instructor at the local gym. My newly retired mom, who is fully sighted, loves the DVD too because the instructions regarding how to move through the posture sequence are very straightforward. She was self-conscious about taking a class but the skills she learned from the DVD gave her the confidence to sign up for a local class.

I also really love the VIYM yoga mat. The quality is so much better than the mat I purchased at a local sporting goods store and is much more comfortable. It is also holding up much better than my other mat which makes it worth the investment. The tactile markings, especially the foot stations and the raised line that runs through the center of the mat, have really helped me achieve the proper alignment and helped with balance.

–Mary, Yoga Student, Washington D.C.

To learn more about the VIYM and to watch VIYM demo videos of Tracy Curly performing yoga poses visit

Around the House:

Allison Fredrickson

Justin Gardner

Priscilla Knight

Darlene Donhoff

NIMAC Welcomes New Staff Member!

Allison Fredrickson recently joined the National Instructional Materials Access Center (NIMAC) team as a Metadata Specialist. Allison has worked for Indiana University Libraries and as a web designer. She holds both a Master’s in Library Science and a Master’s in Information Science.

Resource Services and the Migel Library Welcome New Librarian!

Justin Gardner recently began work as the Special Collections and Cataloging Librarian for Resource Services and the Migel Library. Justin has worked as branch manager of the Louisville Free Public Library and served as Assistant Curator for the Monroe County Historical Society. He holds a Master’s in Library Science.

New Test Editor Welcomed

Priscilla Knight recently joined the Accessible Tests Department as a Test Editor. She is not the "new kid on the block" as Priscilla has served as an APH Braille Transcriber for four years where she transcribed numerous tests and worked with Research Department staff on several products that were being developed. She earned a Master’s in Teaching from the University of Louisville.

APH Research Department Manufacturing Specialist Retires After 31+ Remarkable Years

Darlene Donhoff is retiring from APH on November 1. She is a 31+ year APH employee with 23+ years with the Technical Research Department. She is one of the four founding members in the department. Over her career with the company, Darlene has worked in Large Type, Braille Production, Electronic Assembly, and the Educational Aids Departments before coming to Technical Research as an administrative assistant—later promoted to manufacturing specialist. She is a true career-long partner who will be sorely missed by the entire company.

Watch the Winter 2012 Promo Video and Participate in the Unforgettable APH Star Contest

The winter 2012 Unforgettable APH Star product video contest is now accepting entries! Before you take off for the holidays, make a quick video featuring an APH product and become eligible to win cash prizes up to $150.00. The deadline to send us your video is February 13th, but we can’t wait to see your creation so send it ASAP!

Watch the new promo video to learn more about the contest and view other product videos now at

APH Visits the Northern Rockies!

APH Field Services Representative Kerry Isham presented A Look at APH Products with a Focus on Math and Tactile Graphics at the Northern Rockies AER Conference in Sun Valley, Idaho, October 19-21. Kerry also exhibited APH products at the event which drew approximately 90 attendees from Idaho, Wyoming, and Montana. Presentation participants particularly enjoyed the interactive session where they received hands-on experience with APH products, including the Draftsman, Feel ‘n Peel Nemeth Stickers, Setting the Stage for Tactile Understanding, Life Science Tactile Graphics, Squid Magazine, and the Focus in Math Kit, 2nd Edition.

Oldies but Goodies: The "Established" APH Product Series

O & M Tactile Graphics is a tool for helping teach orientation and mobility concepts such as compass directions, clock locations, and navigating outside and inside. It contains 10 high-contrast print/tactile graphics and a teacher’s guide in print and in braille. The teacher’s guide gives you basic ideas for lesson planning using the graphics, suggested concepts, and instructional hints for each graphic.

The graphics included address the following concepts:

  • straight lines and points
  • compass circle and clock face
  • city block with sidewalks
  • intersection with lanes and sidewalks
  • types of intersections
  • T intersection
  • city blocks, 4X4 grid
  • advanced city block
  • hallway and rooms
  • room with objects

If you have any suggestions for other products you would like to see highlighted in this monthly feature, please send your comments to Monica Turner at email hidden; JavaScript is required.

Honoring Warren

A special presentation of a Wall of Tribute stone honoring Warren Figueiredo was made to his mother, Mrs. Rabelais, in Louisiana. The original stone is installed in the Wall of Tribute which is located in the Hall of Fame for the Blindness Field.

You may wish to consider honoring a friend, relative, mentor, or organization with a beautifully engraved stone.

2011 Hall of Fame Induction

Sally Rogow and Edward Ellis Allen Plaques

Bas relief plaques of the 2011 Hall of Fame for Leaders and Legends of the Blindness Field Inductees, Sally Rogow and Edward Ellis Allen, are now installed in the Hall of Fame.

Soon a video of the 2011 Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, skillfully hosted by Dr. Jane Erin, will appear on the website as well.

The biographies of these legends can be found on the Hall of Fame website.

"Like" APH at Our Facebook Page!

We invite you to visit our Facebook page and "Like" us! You can find APH at these social media sites: Twitter, YouTube, Flickr, and at our blog, Fred’s Head from APH.

APH Travel Calendar

on the road with APH


November 3-4, 2011
Indiana AER;
McCormick’s Creek State Park in Spencer, IN

November 3-5, 2011
ATIA 2011;
Renaissance Schaumburg Hotel & Convention Center in Schaumburg, IL

November 7, 2011
ToAD/Tadpole Training;
Santa Ana Unified School District in Santa Ana, CA

November 9, 2011
Tools for Assessment & Development of Visual Skills;
Missouri School for the Blind in St. Louis, MO

November 10, 2011
West Virginia School for the Blind Conference;
Romney, WV

November 10-12, 2011
Southwestern Orientation and Mobility Conference;
TSVBI Conference Center in Austin, TX

November 17, 2011
Division of Early Childhood (DEC) CEC 2011 Conference;
Gaylord National Hotel in National Harbor, MD

November 18-20, 2011
KCB 2011;
KSB in Louisville, KY

November 28, 2011
Pearson & Kentucky Department of Education Test Bias Review;
Lexington, KY

November 30-December 2, 2011
North Carolina Assistive Technology Expo-20th Annual (NC AT Expo 2011) at the North Raleigh Hilton;
Raleigh, NC


December 7-10, 2011
Getting In Touch With Literacy Conference 2011;
Galt House in Louisville, KY


January 26-28, 2012
ATIA 2012;


February 8, 2011
FVLMA Workshop;
North Mankato, MN

February 27-March 3, 2012
CSUN 2012;

Fall Harvest Sale

Load up a world of savings on selected APH products with APH’s Fall Harvest Sale 2011, October 1—December 31. As always, first come, first served.

New Downloadable Manuals Available

Get the manual you need instantly! APH offers a selected list of product manuals available for free download ( You may print or emboss these as needed. We will continue to package hard copies of these manuals with their products and sell hard copy replacements.

Newly added manuals include:

  • Braille Connection: Mentoring Manual, Print (7-11102-00)
  • Braillewriting Dot by Dot: Teacher’s Manual, Print (7-17401-00)
  • Chang Tactual Diagram Kit: Instructional Guidebook, Print (7-21900-00)
  • Fine Motor Development Materials: Teacher’s Guidebook, Print (7-40400-00)
  • Freund Longhand Writing Kit: Teacher’s Manual, Print (7-73970-00)
  • Getting in Touch with Reading: A Fresh Approach, Teacher’s Manual, Print (7-47160-00)
  • Multiplication and Division Table: Instruction Booklet, Print (7-82700-00)

ON SALE! Turn Your Braille+ into a "Netbook" with the Braille+ QWERTY Docking Station!

1-07452-00 — $500.00

The Docking Station IS available with federal Quota funds.

ADDITIONAL SHIPPING CHARGE: All shipments will incur actual UPS shipping rates based on the destination.

Sale ends December 31, 2011.

Smaller than a laptop, the Docking Station for APH’s Braille+™ Mobile Manager provides netbook-like functions. Simply snap your Braille+ into the Docking Station and you have a highly functional, comfortable-to-use, portable notetaker with Ethernet connectivity!

Docking Station Enables You To

  • Take notes comfortably with a full-size QWERTY keyboard
  • Perform full-capability word processing
  • Web browse extensively
  • Read and write email when you’re on-the-go
  • Use Braille+ longer with extended battery power


  • QWERTY keyboard
  • Audio output and input options include: stereo speakers, mono microphone
  • Rechargeable lithium-ion battery with user-accessible battery compartment
  • USB 1.1 host and client
  • Internet Connectivity: 10BaseT Ethernet
  • Dimensions: Folded: 7.1 x 12 inches; Unfolded: 8.8 x 12 inches; Thickness: 1.6 inches

Note: The Braille+ Mobile Manager (discontinued) is required to operate the QWERTY Docking Station.

On Sale! Braille+ QWERTY Docking Station: Carrying Case

1-07452-12 — $54.00

Replacement item for Braille+ QWERTY Docking Station.

On Sale! Original price: $59.95. Sale ends December 31, 2011.

Additional Cases Available

  • Braille+ Mobile Manager: Leather Carrying Case

    1-07449-00 — $26.00

    This genuine leather case is an optional item for Braille+™ Mobile Manager. Houses and protects your Braille+ unit. Includes carrying strap.

  • Braille+ and Refreshabraille 18 Combo Case

    1-07448-00 — $38.00

    This leather Combo Case houses and protects both the Braille+ and Refreshabraille 18 units, turning these two independent tools into one. The case opens like a book, revealing the Braille+ on one side and the Refreshabraille 18 on the other. Openings make it easy to connect accessories or power, and when folded, this case protects both units. Includes strap for easy portability.

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 several weeks for delivery.

Annie and Snowball and the Cozy Nest: The Fifth Book Of Their Adventures
by Cynthia Rylant: T-N1831-10 — $8.50
From the porch swing, Annie and her bunny Snowball spy a nest and watch to find out who is building it. Annie’s father lifts her up to see the eggs inside. And finally one morning, they hear the baby birds chirping. Four short chapters. Grades K-3. *(AR Quiz #129392, BL 2.8, Pts. 0.5)

Young Charles Darwin and the Voyage of the Beagle
by Ruth Ashby: T-N1835-40 — $24.00
This biography of Charles Darwin (1809-1882) focuses on the scientific observations and discoveries about the natural world that he made during his five-year shipboard voyage around the world. Discusses his collections of plants and birds, which led him to his theory of evolution. For grades 4-7. *(AR Quiz #130427 BL 7.5, Pts. 4.0)

The Year of Secret Assignments
by Jaclyn Moriarty: T-N1837-10 — $81.00
New South Wales, Australia. Three students from Ashbury High — Lydia, Cassie, and Emily — participate in a pen-pal project for their English class by writing to Sebastian, called "Seb," Matthew, and Charlie at rival Brookfield High. The communication leads to romance, humiliation, and revenge. Some strong language. For senior high readers. *(AR Quiz #77133, BL 5.9, Pts. 12.0)

The Physick book of Deliverance Dane: A Novel
by Katherine Howe: T-N1838-10 — $101.00
Connie Goodwin heads to Massachusetts to sell her grandmother’s abandoned property and work on research for her doctoral dissertation in American colonial history. When an antique key falls out of her family’s old Bible, Connie is inspired to find a powerful, rare book.

The Strain: The Strain Trilogy, Book 1
by : Guillermo Del Toro: T-N1847-10 — $117.00
The CDC’s Dr. Eph Goodweather investigates a ghostly scene on the JFK tarmac: a recently landed Boeing 777 sits with all systems dead, shades down, and no signs of life. An awakened vampire virus greater and more horrific than imaginable rapidly spreads through the night. Violence and strong language.

*Accelerated Reader quiz number, book 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
  • Janie Blome, Director, Field Services
  • Scott Blome, Director, Communications
  • Maria Delgado, Field Services Representative
  • Kerry Isham, Field Services Representative
  • Frank Hayden, Technical Research Manager, Research
  • Nancy Lacewell, Director, Governmental Relations
  • Stephanie Lancaster, Graphic Designer, Communications
  • Drew Lueken, Support Specialist, Communications
  • Mary Nelle McLennan, APH BANA Representative
  • Julia Myers, Director, Resource Services
  • Artina Paris-Jones, Assistant, Field Services
  • Tristan Pierce, Multiple Disabilities Project Leader, Research
  • Becky Snider, Coordinator, Public Affairs
  • Monica Turner, Field Services Representative
  • Debbie Willis, Director, Accessible Tests
  • Suzette Wright, Emergent Literacy Project Leader, Research

Bob Brasher, Vice President, Advisory Services and Research

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Read our blog: Fred’s Head from APH.

For additional recent APH News, click the following:

October Issue –
September Issue –
August Issue –

Archive of all previous issues –

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