Fred’s Head from APH, a Blindness Blog

Fred’s Head, offered by the American Printing House for the Blind, contains tips, techniques, tutorials, in-depth articles, and resources for and by blind or visually impaired people. Our blog is named after the legendary Fred Gissoni, renowned for answering a seemingly infinite variety of questions on every aspect of blindness.

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Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Signature Guide For Signing Checks

Knowing where to put one's signature on a check is an ongoing problem--and it is one which can be inconvenient and time-consuming to solve if you have to teach a new person each time to show you where to sign.

Here are three methods that might prove useful:

  1. Slip a check into a braille slate with its bottom aligned, or even, with that of the slate. Find the location of a line that can serve as a guide for placing your signature in the right place, then braille a line of dots across the check from the starting point of the signature line to the check's edge. Next put an "up-and-down line" from the signature line to the bottom of the check. Doing this creates a guide to mark the spot where your signature should start. Remember where these two lines meet on the series of checks that comprise this particular book of checks, so you will be able to mark each check appropriately until you finish the book. Then, when you start a new book of checks, remember the printing may be different enough from that of the first that you may need to make adjustments in the positioning of your dotted guidelines. This being the case, be sure to check each book of checks prior to use and to make any adjustments that may be required for your guidelines.
  2. Ask a sighted seamstress to unthread a sewing machine and to set the "stitch length" as long as it can be. Then, after sewing along the signature line, instruct her to turn the book at a right angle and to sew down to the bottom edge of the check to where the signature should begin. Someone can do a whole book of checks this way, so a blind person is able to enjoy the independence of signing checks until there are no more left in the book.
  3. Make a signature guide by folding in half a piece of heavy weight paper (such as braille paper)--or a piece of thin plastic (should you have such). After folding, the finished product should be at least half of the check high and three-quarters of the check wide--with the fold on the right edge. Have someone cut a rectangular box on the top layer of the guide that corresponds to the signature area of the check. Start the right end of this rectangle at the fold so you will have as long a signature line as possible. Then, slip a check into the folded signature guide, making sure its right edge is straight against the fold of the guide and that the bottom of the check is even with the bottom of the guide. If you position a check in the guide correctly and the rectangle has been cut properly, you can sign within the rectangle and have your signature in the right place.

APH Signature Guide

Aids people who are visually impaired in writing their signatures. Small, pocket-size frame has an opening with an elastic band. The band provides a guide for writing and flexes to allow for the descenders of letters.

Revised guide is made of durable, flexible plastic with the same rubber backing as before to prevent sliding. Measures 4 1/2" x 2 1/4". Recommended ages: 8 years and up.

Catalog Number: 1-03530-01
Click this link to purchase the APH Signature Guide.

American Printing House for the Blind, Inc.
1839 Frankfort Avenue
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 6085
Louisville, Kentucky 40206-0085
Toll Free: 800-223-1839
Phone: 502-895-2405
Fax: 502-899-2274
Web site:
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