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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Friday, August 17, 2007

Teaching Spanish To The Blind

Message: Dear Fred,

I am a teacher's assistant looking for tips on my student having to take Spanish next year. The teacher has approached me for guidance. Can you shed any light on this subject or direct me to sites that are applicable? I have tried to search the net but have not acquired any good info or was not able to access sites. Just some good basic info. Thank you!

First of all, you need to find out what book is going to be used to teach the class. Write down the following information:

  • The name of the book
  • The author
  • The date it was published
  • The ISDN number

Once you have this information, head over to The American Printing House for the Blind's web site: and look for the "Use Louis to search for and order APH products!" link.

On the resulting page, click the link that says "Search for Textbooks, Recreational Reading, and Downloadable Files".

If you have the ISBN number of the book, choose the search option "ISBN or Catalog Number", and complete the rest of the form. Click the "Search" button to get your results.

Don't forget to "Search the National Library Service Catalog", and "Search" from the Louis search page as well.

While searching for ways to help this student, I came across a site that has Spanish flash cards and lessons. These items can either be printed from the site, or downloaded for later printing. Both the cards and lessons come in black and white or color.

Time is always an issue, but the flash cards could be individually brailled for a blind student. Printing these flash cards may also give the user the opportunity to enlarge the cards for the visually impaired student. Again, it will take some time to print or braille the cards, but this is a good resource for creating study material.

Click here to visit

Hi Fred,

Do you know of a good English-Spanish translation dictionary for a braille student--more specifically speaking. I am thinking something like the Franklin Language Master, but has the ability to translate Spanish-English.

location: Greenville, SC

There is supposed to be a device called the "DICTIOMATIC". It is said to be made by a company called Dictionatic. At one time they had a listing in the St. Petersburg, FL area but I never got anyone to answer or return a call. It was given as a prize on more than one game show on TV some years ago.

There are some computer programs that do that sort of thing if one has a laptop. At least, you can enter simple phrases and have them translated by the computer.

I can't give you the name of anything specific in the way of a special program that does it. There are some language packs that can be installed onto a computer that can help. I know of nothing like the Franklin capable of doing anything of the sort with speech.

Can you help us answer this question? If you have any suggestions, please email

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