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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.

October 2005

Exciting New APH Products Announced!

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

Annual Meeting 2005:
Learning Across a Lifetime!

Learning Across a Lifetime Annual Meeting October 13-15, 2005

We are making the final preparations for over 300 registrants scheduled to attend the 137th Annual Meeting of APH Ex Officio Trustees and Special Guests, October 13 -15, 2005, in Louisville, KY at the new Downtown Marriott Hotel.

The exciting agenda offers something for everyone, with a keynote by Dr. Elton Moore, interactive product training sessions (including special presentations by Dr. Jan van Dijk), updates from the field, a report on the state of the company, poster sessions, and more. We will honor our APH InSights Art award winners, as well as the four new inductees into the Hall of Fame for Leaders and Legends of the Blindness Field. This year APH is also pleased to welcome the first cohort of fellows from the National Center for Leadership in Visual Impairment and our five APH Scholars for 2005.

You can still be a part of this extravaganza by calling Kathy Smiddy at 800-223-1839, ext 241. For more information, check out the APH web site at

What’s going on in Louisville that week? Wayne Newton will be playing the Palace Saturday night! Do you want more than that? Visit!

Family Conference Sessions Now Available

Interested in listening to sessions offered at the "Families Connecting with Families" Conference hosted in Louisville a few weeks ago?

Check out the listing of available sessions at:

Learning About Sensory Learning in New Mexico

the National Instructional Partnerships

Renowned teacher and APH product author Millie Smith will share skills and techniques for using the APH Sensory Learning Kit at a National Instructional Partnerships (NIP) event outside of Albuquerque, New Mexico, November 2-3, 2005. The event will be held in partnership with Ex Officio Trustee Kenalea Johnson and the New Mexico School for the Blind and Visually Impaired.

Registration information and further details are available from Kenalea by emailing email hidden; JavaScript is required If you are interested in partnering with APH to host a National Instructional Partnership in your area, please contact Janie Blome by calling 800-223-1839, ext. 367, or email email hidden; JavaScript is required

Be a Toodle Tiles Tester!

Are your students bogged-down? Do they need practice in visual scanning, visual memory, or listening skills? Do you want them to have fun while they practice those skills? Now you can solve those problems by signing up your student to be a beta tester for APH’s latest computer game, Toodle Tiles.

Toodle Tiles is based upon an existing game called Mahjong, but it uses simple, high-contrast graphics specially-designed for students with low vision. The music for the game was composed by Ian Stocker, famous for composing music for such games as Lord of the Rings and The Sims. Audio cues are available for players who are blind, as is audio feedback to the players’ moves. Players have choices for tilesets, backgrounds and speeds of play.

Toodle Tiles can be enjoyed by everyone. If your student would like to participate in beta testing, sign up at First, make sure the student clicks on the agreement, and then the beta page where Toodle Tiles can be selected from the menu and downloaded. It is strongly recommended that both you and your student read the simple user’s manual prior to beginning the game. The manual is found at the bottom of the download page. Beta testers will be asked to answer questions online about the game, report bugs or problems, and share opinions and reactions to the game. Beta testing is expected to last from 6-8 weeks.

Make sure that you or your student sign up for the beta testing listserv. There will be a link on the download page. APH does not provide tech support by phone. Any problems encountered in using the game should be reported via the listserv. The listserv is email hidden; JavaScript is required the word <subscribe> goes in the subject field. Your student, (and probably you too) will enjoy playing and testing Toodle Tiles. It’s fun!

"Next Steps" to Address Expanded Core Curricula

The National Agenda (NA) for the Education of Children and Youths with Visual Impairments, Including Those with Multiple Disabilities includes 10 goals. For information on each goal and resources for the expanded core curricula (RECC) visit National Agenda and RECC web pages at

NA Goal 8 states that all educational goals and instruction will address the academic and expanded core curricula based on the assessed needs of each student with visual impairments. Dr. Phil Hatlen, Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired, and Debbie Willis, APH, are the current NA Co-Leaders for Goal 8.

Since the founding of the NA, no comprehensive survey has been conducted to determine the status of the Expanded Core Curricula (ECC) throughout the U.S. To get a picture of how the country is doing on Goal 8, two surveys have been developed to see how far we have come and how much more needs to be accomplished to achieve this goal.

One survey is for parents and caregivers; the other is for teachers, orientation and mobility specialists, and state coordinators. The surveys will be disseminated through various means. National Agenda Committee members request your valuable assistance to document the status of the ECC in the United States. Responses will be instrumental in determining "next steps."

In Touch Across the Globe

APH project leaders, Karen Poppe, Fred Otto, and Suzette Wright were invited to serve on the Content Group reviewing submissions for presentations at the international Tactile Graphics 2005 conference, to be held December 1-2nd, 2005 in Birmingham, UK. A number of abstracts from qualified presenters were received from Europe, Asia, and North and South America. "Reviewing the abstracts was stimulating," said APH staff. "Many of the presenters were familiar to us and it was exciting to see trends within the larger field of tactile graphics supported by our work here, such as the interest in providing developmentally appropriate tactile graphic training materials." This is the third international conference and exhibition on tactile diagrams, maps and pictures, touching on every aspect of tactile graphics. It is hosted by Royal National Institute for the Blind (RNIB) National Centre for Tactile Diagrams. The deadline for exhibition submissions is open until October 10th; however, the call for submissions for presentations has passed. For information about the conference, visit

Babies Count Travels to Saint Louis

Babies Count: the National Registry for Children with Visual Impairments Birth to 3 Years

Burt Boyer traveled to Saint Louis, Missouri on September 22 to participate in a very special event sponsored by the Saint Louis Society for the Blind and Visually Impaired. The Society honored Dr. Arnall Patz with the Leslie Dana Gold Medal, a very distinguished award because his peers chose him to be the recipient. Arnall, a legendary ophthalmologist, is a strong advocate for the Babies Count Project and requested Burt’s attendance. Accompanied by his wonderful wife, Ellen, Arnall was humble in his acceptance of the Medal.

On September 23, Arnall presented a special lecture to doctors, residents, and interns at Saint Louis Medical Center on retrolental fibroplasia and retinopathy of prematurity, and brought into the discussion the important role that the Babies Count Project is playing in collecting needed data that can be used by the medical community. Burt, who was asked to speak about the project, emphasized the importance of the medical and education communities forming a partnership to address blindness issues.

Photo: Arnall Patz, Ellen Patz, and Burt Boyer

Patterns Field Testing a Great Success!

APH received a fabulous response to our request for Patterns field testers from TVIs all over the United States. We have sent the prototype of the revised Kindergarten level of the Patterns reading program to the maximum number of field test sites that we could accommodate. This resulted in 64 sites represented by 29 states. We want to thank all of you who called and emailed with information. If you are not in this current round of field testing, we will keep your contact information for future testing of other levels of Patterns. Thanks very much again for your enthusiasm and willingness to help us design a better product.

Bring an APH Traveling Exhibit to Your Community!

A traveling exhibit from the Callahan Museum draws attention to your school or organization. Inviting the public to a special exhibit attracts visitors unfamiliar with the work of your organization. Partnering with another organization at their location introduces their constituents to your organization. An exhibit heightens your visibility in your community and provides a unique educational opportunity for both sighted and blind visitors.

Ideas For Hosting a Traveling Exhibit

Photo of part of the 'War of the Dots' Traveling Exhibit

If your organization has no space for the major traveling exhibit, IN TOUCH WITH KNOWLEDGE, try co-hosting the exhibit with a library, university, museum, community center, government agency, theatre lobby, church social hall or art gallery. Or try one of our smaller exhibits on braille writers, historic schools, or the war of the dots. The small shows could be moved to various locations in the community. In addition to providing a venue, another community organization may agree to fund the exhibit or act as a co-sponsor.

Ideas For Funding a Traveling Exhibit

  • Alumni, parents, staff, volunteers, board members, and friends-people who have a stake in your organization.
  • Vendors, exhibitors at a conference, people who sell to you are potential sponsors.
  • Local legislators often have a fund for special projects in their districts.
  • Local and state humanities grants.
  • Grants from relevant charitable foundations and corporate foundations.
  • Look to local businesses for corporate sponsorship.

Emphasize the importance of the exhibit to your community-an educational experience that builds disability awareness and showcases the important contributions of your organization and the field of blindness education. Point out that association with your organization gives credibility and favorable publicity to the donor. Tell potential sponsors that you will put their names on a poster, or program that accompanies the exhibit. All news releases should list sponsors names. Exhibit sponsors may be honored with a special, opening reception for sponsors and friends.

The APH Callahan Museum has received funding from a variety of sources to create these traveling exhibits. This is our way of sharing our research, our artifacts, and our archival materials with people all over the country. Join us in this venture in education and awareness of our unique history by bringing these exhibits to your community. For more information about our exhibits program, contact Mike Hudson at 800/223-1839, ext. 365 or look on our website at

APH Welcomes New Ex Officio Trustees

John Schmidt, District of Columbia Public Schools, replacing Raymond Bryant

John Roberts, Kentucky School for the Blind, replacing Jeanette Wicker

Virginia Miller, South Dakota Rehabilitation Center for the Blind, replacing Jim Norman

Jeremiah Holiday, Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, replacing Sue Enoch

Olda Boubin, Minnesota State Academy for the Blind, replacing Linda Mitchel

APH Travel Calendar

on the road with APH


October 13-15, 2005
American Printing House for the Blind-Annual Meeting 2005;
Louisville, KY

October 20-22, 2005
NBA Meetings;
Seattle, WA

October 23-25, 2005
NY AER & NY DOE Presentations;
East Syracuse, NY & Albany, NY


November 3-4, 2005
NIP Math Event;
Syracuse, NY

Nov. 4 – 5, 2005
Washington Conference for Families of Infant and Pre-School Children;
Tacoma, WA

November 7-9, 2005
Braille Symposium for Rehab Teachers in Texas: Opening Doors: Literacy through Braille in Dallas;
Dallas, TX

November 10-12, 2005
St. Louis, MO

November 12-15, 2005
National Association for Adults with Special Learning Needs (NAASLN) Conference;
Denver, CO

NEW! Get More from the Fred’s Head Database with Fred’s Head Companion!

Explore the collective ideas and experiences of blind or visually impaired people by visiting APH’s Fred’s Head Database. Find the original Fred’s Head by visiting

In addition to the database, APH now offers the Fred’s Head Companion, a free-of-charge, accessible blog and podcast site that is easy to use and search. The Companion delivers a wealth of "how-to" knowledge to your news aggregator software or portable MP3 player.

Visit where you can read articles directly from the homepage with synthetic speech or large print (the web address is not case-sensitive).

You can subscribe to the Fred’s Head Companion RSS 2.0 feed by adding the following URL to your news aggregator:

An Atom compatible feed is also available at:

A podcast of the articles posted to Fred’s Head Companion is available through for free! Simply visit the website, sign up for a free account, and subscribe to the Fred’s Head Companion feed. translates articles to clear, natural sounding speech and delivers them to either your computer or personal MP3 player.

WANTED: Field Services Representative

For additional information on this exciting job opportunity at APH, check this link:

APH Flea Market

the APH Flea Market

A new listing of overstocked and discontinued APH products is now available at the APH Flea Market. All reduced pricing runs from October 1 through December 31, 2005. These inventories are available while supplies last. Take advantage of these savings today!

NEW! Quick Pick Braille Contractions

1-03576-00 — $56.00

Quick Pick Braille Contractions is the latest in the Quick Pick series of educational games. It has two cases of fifty cards with each case representing a cross-section of all the braille contractions. On both sides of the cards, a braille contraction is on the top and four uncontracted answer choices are across the bottom.

To play, read the contraction, then "quick pick" the uncontracted choice that matches, put the wooden tool in the corresponding hole for the answer choice, and try to pull the card out of the case. If the card slides out, the answer is correct. If incorrect, the card will not slide out. The object of the game is to "quick pick" as many cards as possible on the first try.

NEW! Miniguide US

Miniguide US with Print User’s Guide: 1-07006-00…..$ 545.00
Miniguide US with Braille User’s Guide: 1-07007-00 — $ 545.00
Quick Reference Sheet Pack (5 print and 5 braille): 1-07006-01 — $5.00

The Miniguide US is a tiny, hand-held electronic travel device that can enhance the effectiveness of a blind person’s primary travel method. The Miniguide US uses ultrasound to detect objects, and gives tactual or auditory feedback by vibrating or chirping more rapidly as you approach an object. Ideal for use by deafblind persons.

When used with a cane or dog guide, the Miniguide US can help a blind person avoid obstacles and overhangs; locate landmarks; locate items such as mailboxes or trash cans; and find open paths through crowds at ranges from 20 inches to 26 feet depending on the size of the object.

NOTE: The Miniguide US should be used along with a sighted guide, dog guide, or cane because it does not detect drop-offs and does not provide sufficient information to ensure safety.

Remote Unit for Miniguide US: 1-07009-00 — $195.00

The Remote Unit is used in an instructional setting so that instructors can receive the same tactual feedback as their students.

  • Attaches to Miniguide US with a 12-foot-long cable (included)
  • Uses AAA battery (included, user-replaceable)
  • Comes with print and braille Quick Start and cassette and print Remote Unit User’s Guide

NEW! Tactile Connections: Symbols for Communication

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

Complete Kit: 1-08837-00 — $ 115.00
Large Print Guidebook with 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.

Tactile Connections Includes:

  • Large Print Guidebook with CD with teaching strategies, applications, a "Pictorial Library" of suggested core vocabulary, and step-by-step card assembly instructions. The accompanying CD provides PDF, HTML, and BRF formats of the guidebook’s content.
  • 105 Mounting Cards in a variety of colors and shapes (15 each of 7 different colors). NOTE: Additional mounting cards will be available separately.
  • Accessories with Caulk serve as a starter-package for card assembly. Includes items such as caulk, VELCRO® brand tabs, craft foam, puff paint, needlepoint canvas, rhinestones, etc., along with adhesive material to prepare braille and print labels.
  • Storage box

Recommended Ages: 5 and older.

WARNING: Choking Hazard-Small Parts. Not intended for children ages 5 and under without adult supervision.

NEW! Sensory Learning Kit (SLK)

A kit for use in the development of skills for learners with the most significant challenges.

Complete Kit: 1-08611-00 — $ 499.00

Also Available Separately
SLK Guidebook/Routines Book, Print: 7-08611-00 — $ 81.00

The purpose of the interventions included in the Sensory Learning Kit (SLK) is to provide access to sensory information that stimulates curiosity and motivates interactions that help develop skills. Specific tools contained in the SLK may be used in the development of instructional components such as daily schedules, lesson plans, and alternative assessments for students with the most significant challenges.

Using the SLK enables learners to have a higher quality of life by having

  • Some control over people and events
  • Something to look forward to
  • Somebody to do things with

Kit Includes

  • SLK Guidebook and Assessment Forms — creates appetite lists and determine appropriate arousal states for routines
  • SLK Routines Book — explains importance of routines and provides templates
  • Three assistive technology switches
  • A power control unit
  • Multiple appetite items featuring texture, color, and sound for use in the routines

APH Print/Braille Children’s Books: duPont Series

Dear Santa, Please Come To The 19th Floor: 9-15015-00 — $10.00

Not available with Federal Quota funds.

Get Your Shopping Done Early This Year with our Latest Title in the Popular duPont Series!

Dear Santa, Please Come to the 19th Floor

An accident has left Carlos in a wheelchair and Willy looking for a way to cheer him up. But with no chimney, a locked lobby door, and a broken elevator, will Santa come to their apartment? This charming Christmas story presents its message of hope in an urban setting.

Also Available:
Capital! Washington DC from A to Z: 9-15036-00 — $10.00
Looking Out for Sarah: 9-14009-00 — $10.00
Mysterious Tadpole: 9-15012-00 — $10.00
Sylvester & the Magic Pebble: 9-15008-00 — $10.00
Pumpkin Eye: 9-15015-00 — $10.00

Not available with Federal Quota funds.

NEW! Variable Beam Flashlight with Disks

1-08390-01 — $25.00

Designed to help students develop visual awareness and visual tracking skills, this flashlight can be used in a wide range of instruction. Includes:

  • One variable beam flashlight
  • Five translucent and four transparent color lenses
  • Activity cards
  • Uses AAA batteries (included)

Recommended ages: all ages.

Note: This item replaces the previous Penlight with Color Caps and Flashlight with Color Disks.

APH News Credits

Dr. Tuck Tinsley

Malcolm Turner, APH Web Site Coordinator

Thanks to the following APH staff:

  • Cindy Amback, Field Services Assistant
  • Janie Blome, Field Services Director
  • Scott Blome, Communications Director
  • Burt Boyer, Early Childhood Project Leader
  • Mike Hudson, Museum Director
  • Roseanne Hoffman, Research Assistant
  • Elaine Kitchel, Low Vision Project Leader
  • Becki Moody, Communications Support Specialist
  • Eleanor Pester, Braille Project Leader
  • Karen Poppe, Tactile Graphics Project Leader
  • Debbie Willis, Accessible Tests Director

Bob Brasher, Vice President, Advisory Services and Research

For additional recent APH News, click the following:

September Issue –
August Issue –
July 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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