Fred's Head from APH, a Blindness Blog

The Fred's Head blog contains tips, techniques, tutorials, in-depth articles, and resources for and by blind or visually impaired people. Fred's Head is offered by the American Printing House for the Blind. It was voted best blindness-related blog three years in a row by

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Fred's Head is named after the legendary Fred Gissoni, who passed away on September 21, 2014. Check out the bottom of this page for: subscribing to posts via email; browsing articles by subject; subscribing to RSS feeds; APH resources; the archive of this blog; APH on YouTube; contributing articles to Fred's Head; and disclaimers.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Helen Keller's Autobiography Made Accessible

Helen Keller's Autobiography
 By Micheal Hudson, APH Museum Director

Our object this week is not exactly part of our museum collection here at APH.  It is my desk reference copy of Helen Keller’s autobiography, The Story of My Life.  Obviously a classic, it was well worn and well loved by a museum supporter long before he donated it a few years ago.  My copy is a 1923 Doubleday, Page, & Company edition of Keller’s story.  She originally published it in Ladies Home Journal as a series of articles in 1902, and it appeared for the first time in book form in 1903.  My copy is missing its spine, and its pages are littered with post-it notes from numerous projects, the most recent being the labels for our traveling exhibit, Child in a Strange Country: Helen Keller and the History of Education for People who are Blind or Visually Impaired.  

I picked it up again this morning after Justin Gardner, APH's librarian for the Migel Library, told me that one of our copies, this one from 1914, was the 2nd most frequently downloaded item in the Lyrasis Consortium the last week of December.  Lyrasis is a coalition of libraries working to digitize and share collections on the Internet Archive. The books on the Internet Archive are available in many accessible formats, including HTML EPUB, and DAISY. Our Migel Library has added thousands of titles on blindness to the Archive since we acquired it in 2009 from the American Foundation for the Blind

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

What are APH Quick Tips?

APH Quick Tips logo

Wanna be an APH know-it-all? The producers of the series, APH Quick Tips are in the business of helping you increase your “APH IQ” one short, informative video at a time! Each of these videos focuses on a particular facet of any and all things APH. Point your browser to every Wednesday to check out a new Quick Tip. If you have an idea for one you'd like to see, feel free to email Kerry at, contact Fred’s Head or tweet us @APHfortheBlind with the hashtag #APHQuickTip!

This week’s APH Quick Tip provides an introduction to the new product, Geometro: Student Workbook Kit, an assortment of materials and manipulatives for use with Geometro kits. Watch it here!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

2015 Hall of Fame for the Blindness Field Nominations are Now Being Accepted

Hall of Fame for the Blindness Field logo

Who should be the next inductees in to the Hall of Fame for the Blindness Field

"The Hall of Fame for Leaders and Legends of the Blindness Field is dedicated to preserving, honoring, and promoting the tradition of excellence manifested by the specific individuals inducted into the Hall of Fame and through the history of outstanding services provided to people who are blind or visually impaired."

The nomination process is easy and can be done electronically. Submissions are due by March 27, 2015.

What are the criteria?

  • Persons who have made significant contributions to improve the lives of those who are blind or visual impaired in such areas as professional practice, research, writing, leadership, direct service, and/or in their professional organizations.

Who is Eligible?

  • Persons are eligible five years after departure/retirement from positions where their significant lifetime body of work was made.
  • Individuals from North America are eligible for nomination. (North America is defined as US, Canada, Mexico, and the Caribbean).
Questions?  Contact:

Jane Erin, Chair, Hall of Fame Governing Board,
Bob Brasher, Curator, Hall of Fame,

Monday, October 27, 2014

Parenting with a Visual Impairment

Parenting with a Visual Impairment book from APH
Parenting with a Visual Impairment: Advice for Raising Babies and Young Children, a new book and CD set from APH, shares helpful tips, techniques, attitudes, and preparatory experiences from successful parents who are blind and visually impaired.

The parents in Parenting with a Visual Impairment: Advice for Raising Babies and Young Children each completed an extensive written questionnaire and a 90-minute phone interview about how they accomplished parenting tasks using non-visual techniques.

Book Summarizes Parents' Responses:
  • Decided to have children
  • Prepared to become parents
  • Acquired information about pregnancy and childbirth
  • Fed, diapered, and kept their newborns clean
  • Read to, played with, and visually stimulated their infants
  • Child proofed their homes and monitored their babies
  • Managed fevers, medications, and medical care
  • Taught colors, print letters & numbers, and drawing
  • Monitored and kept their toddlers safe indoors and outdoors
  • Traveled independently with their young children
  • Dealt with reactions of medical care providers, family, and the public at large
  • Handled attitudes of day-care staff, preschool teachers, and their child’s friends

  • Provides family and Consumer Science students with visual impairments with information pertinent to their own lives as visually-impaired parents-to-be
  • Helps transition students realize that their visual impairment should not stop them from including parenthood in their future plans
  • Gives teachers an accurate picture of how blind adults take care of children so that teachers can impart this positive self-image to visually impaired students
  • Gives adults who have lost vision tools to continue to care for their children
  • Shows medical service, psychology, social work, counseling, protective service, and legal professionals how adults with visual impairments using alternate skill sets parent their children effectively
  • Corrects the negative stereotypes about parents with visual impairments, which have, even in the 21st century, resulted in a newborn’s removal from her parents solely because both parents were blind  

*Note: The braille version (catalog # 6-00100-00) is available, but must be ordered by phone for now. It will be available online soon.

Order online or call 1-800-223-1839.

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The American Printing House for the Blind (APH) makes every attempt to ensure the accuracy and reliability of the data contained in the Fred's Head articles; however, APH makes no warranty, guarantee, or promise, expressed or implied, concerning the content or accuracy of the information provided in Fred's Head. APH does not endorse any technique, product, device, service, organization, or other information presented in Fred's Head, other than products and services directly offered by APH.

The products produced by the American Printing House for the Blind are instructional/teaching materials and are intended to be used by trained professionals, parents, and other adults with children who are blind and visually impaired. These materials are not intended as toys for use by children in unstructured play or in an unsupervised environment.

The information and techniques contained in Fred's Head are provided without legal consideration (free-of-charge) and are not warranted by APH to be safe or effective. All users of this service assume the risk of any injury or damage that may result from the use of the information provided.

Information in Fred's Head is not intended as a substitute for professional advice or treatment. Consult your physician before utilizing information regarding your health that may be presented on this site. Consult other professionals as appropriate for legal, financial, and related advice.

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Opinions appearing in Fred's Head records are solely those of the contributor and do not necessarily reflect the views of the American Printing House for the Blind.