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.

(See the end of this page for subscribing via email, RSS, browsing articles by subject, blog archive, APH resources, writing for Fred's Head, and disclaimers.)

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Tuesday, June 30, 2009

O & M Tactile Graphics

O & M Tactile Graphics

Tool for helping teach orientation and mobility concepts: compass directions, clock locations, and navigating outside and inside. Contains:

  • 10 high-contrast print/tactile graphics
  • Teacher's Guide in print and in braille. Teacher's Guide gives you basic ideas for lesson planning using the graphics, suggested concepts and instructional hints for each graphic.

Recommended ages: 8+

O & M Tactile Graphics:
Catalog Number: 1-20100-00
Click this link to purchase the O & M Tactile Graphics.

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
E-mail: info@aph.org
Web site: http://www.aph.org
APH Shopping Home: http://shop.aph.org

The Dictionary for Parents of Children with Disabilities

The Dictionary for Parents of Children with Disabilities contains terminology used in the fields of testing/evaluation, early intervention, special education, medical services, therapeutic services, family supports, vocational training, independent living and guardianship.

The Dictionary for Parents of Children with Disabilities was originally developed by South Dakota Special Education Programs and is included on the Center for Disabilities website with their permission.

Click this link to visit the USD - Center for Disabilities website to download the dictionary.

Miniguide US

Miniguide US

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.

Miniguide US with Print User's Guide:
Catalog Number: 1-07006-00

Miniguide US with Braille User's Guide:
Catalog Number: 1-07007-00

Quick Reference Sheet Pack (5 print and 5 braille):
Catalog Number: 1-07009-00
Click this link to purchase the Miniguide US.

Remote Unit for Miniguide US

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
Remote Unit for Miniguide US:
Catalog Number: 1-07009-00
Click this link to purchase the Remote Unit for the Miniguide US.

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
E-mail: info@aph.org
Web site: http://www.aph.org
APH Shopping Home: http://shop.aph.org

Materials on Utilization of Low Vision (ULV) Diagnostic Kit

Materials on Utilization of Low Vision

Designed to determine if a student's residual vision is being fully utilized. Consists of two kits purchased separately. Recommended ages: 5+

Teacher's Kit includes:

  • Teacher's Guide
  • Visual Efficiency Scale and Directions for Administration
  • Profile of Visual Skills and Behavior
  • Record of Performance on Visual Efficiency Scale
Visual Efficiency Scale Kit includes:
  • Directions for Administration of Visual Efficiency Scale
  • Ten Visual Efficiency Scales
  • Ten Profiles of Visual Skills and Behavior
  • Ten Records of Performance on Visual Efficiency Scales.
Materials on Utilization of Low Vision -- (ULV)

Teacher's Kit:
Catalog Number: 8-50600-00

Visual Efficiency Scale Kit:
Catalog Number: 8-50590-00
Click this link to purchase the Materials on Utilization of Low Vision (ULV) - Diagnostic Kit.

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
E-mail: info@aph.org
Web site: http://www.aph.org
APH Shopping Home: http://shop.aph.org

Friday, June 26, 2009

Got a Dog Guide? You Need Port-a-poo!

It’s bad enough we have to pick up or scoop up the poop for our dog guides, but we also have to carry it all the way home or to the nearest garbage can? Let’s put those dogs to work, let them carry their own poop with the Port-a-poo Hands Free Waste Carrier

The Port-a-poo attaches to almost any leash and after you pick up your dog’s waste, in a bag, you just clip it onto the leash. Let the leash and the dog do all the work. It’s convenient, stylish, sanitary and shaped like a little bone.

Click this link to purchase the Port-a-poo.

Toodle Tiles: Emmy's Town

Toodle Tiles

Toodle Tiles: Emmy's TownTM is an educational computer game for students 5 and up. Based on the matching game of Mahjong, the object is to clear away matching tiles and pave the way for the new mayor of Emuville.

Toodle Tiles features bright, high-contrast colors and simple designs in five different tilesets:

  • characters from Emuville, introduced in APH's ENVISION program
  • a Chinese set portraying sea creatures
  • a veggie set
  • a universe set
  • for older students, a bug set

A plastic form is included to explain the multi-dimensional aspects of the game. The student with blindness can hear audio cues, as well as audio feedback, each time he or she chooses a tile.

Toodle Tiles, CD Version:
Catalog Number: D-00300-00

Toodle Tiles, Download Version:
Catalog Number: D-00300-ED
Click this link to purchase Toodle Tiles: Emmy's Town.

Two Options for Purchasing

APH offers two convenient ways to order Toodle Tiles:

  • Customers can order the CD-ROM via mail, toll-free phone, or website.
  • Users can purchase the program through our Electronic Distribution method.

Simply download the demonstration version of the program from our website, http://www.aph.org/tech. Then phone our toll free number, 1-800-223-1839, and give us your credit card number. Within 24 hours, we will give you a code key that transforms your demo copy of the program into a full copy of the program.

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
E-mail: info@aph.org
Web site: http://www.aph.org
APH Shopping Home: http://shop.aph.org

Termite Torpedo

Termite Torpedo

Termite Torpedo is an arcade-style educational game designed especially for low vision users. Termites are eating their way through Woodville! Only you can save the city by clearing the playing field of 12 levels of termites! Termite Torpedo gives low-vision students practice in the visual skills of locating, fixating, tracking, aligning, and following. It features:

  • Bright, high-contrast colors for game elements
  • Full audio accompaniment, including directional information, allows use by players who are totally blind
Termite Torpedo requires:
  • PC compatible computer running Windows 98 or later
  • 14 MB of available hard disk space
  • Internet Explorer 5.1 or later
  • Sound card and speakers
  • CD-ROM drive
Termite Torpedo:

CD Version:
Catalog Number: D-03470-00

Electronic Download:
Catalog Number: D-03470-ED
Click this link to purchase Termite Torpedo.

Download APH Software Demos: www.aph.org/tech.

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
E-mail: info@aph.org
Web site: http://www.aph.org
APH Shopping Home: http://shop.aph.org

Armadillo Army

Armadillo Army

This arcade-style educational game is created especially for players with low vision. In Armadillo Army, the main character, Tex, navigates a series of increasingly difficult mazes, picking up various items along the way. At the same time, he must evade a band of armadillos traveling through the maze with him. The game contains bright, large graphics, as well as meaningful sound elements.

Armadillo Army gives low-vision students practice with lateral eye movements, vertical eye movements, searching skills, timing skills, visual discrimination skills, peripheral detection skills, eccentric viewing skills, and eye-hand coordination. Students who are blind can play the game using its sound cues.

Requirements to Run

  • PC compatible computer running at least Windows 98, ME, 2000, XP or later
  • 500 MHz processor
  • 64 MB RAM
  • 14MB of hard disk space
  • Internet Explorer 5.01 or later
  • Sound card and speakers
  • CD-ROM drive
Armadillo Army:

CD-ROM:
Catalog Number: D-03400-00

Electronic Distribution:
Catalog Number: D-03400-ED
Click this link to purchase Armadillo Army.

Download APH Software Demos: www.aph.org/tech.

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
E-mail: info@aph.org
Web site: http://www.aph.org
APH Shopping Home: http://shop.aph.org

Stop Visual Clutter with Invisiboard

Invisiboard
Block out distractions for students with Cortical Visual Impairment (CVI). Recommended by the CVI Synergy group, this 48 by 30 inch, tri-fold board eliminates visual clutter with a solid white, slick material on one side and a solid black, VELCRO® brand-compatible material on the other. This portable, lightweight kit includes a convenient carrying case and a print/braille orientation manual.

Invisiboard:
Catalog Number: 1-08541-00
Click this link to purchase Invisiboard.

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
E-mail: info@aph.org
Web site: http://www.aph.org
APH Shopping Home: http://shop.aph.org


VELCRO®, VELTEX®, and VELCOIN® are registered trademarks of Velcro Industries B.V.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

CVI Perspectives Video

CVI Perspectives Video

This video explores cortical visual impairment (CVI) from three perspectives: medical, educational, and personal.

Neonatologist Dr. Alan Lantzy presents a medical perspective on the causes of CVI. APH CVI Project Leader Dr. Christine Roman presents an educational perspective focusing on characteristics and recommended approaches. Finally, seven families talk about their personal experiences from the difficulty of the diagnosis to finding help and hope.

CVI Perspectives Video

VHS:
Catalog Number: 1-30014-00

DVD:
Catalog Number: 1-30014-DVD
Click this link to purchase the CVI Perspectives Video from APH.

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
E-mail: info@aph.org
Web site: http://www.aph.org
APH Shopping Home: http://shop.aph.org

Swirly Mat Sets

Swirly Mat Sets

Durable, non-toxic Swirly Mats come in two sets: Cortical Visual Impairment (CVI) and Functional Vision Assessment (FVA). The mats in the CVI set are less complex and designed to be used with students with cortical vision impairments. The mats in the FVA set are filled with glitter and other items and are useful for conducting functional vision assessments. All the mats can be used for locating, tracking, color discrimination, etc. Try them with the APH Mini-Lite Box for a different effect. Includes background mat.

Swirly Mat Set: CVI:

CVI Swirly Mats Includes:

  • 1 CVI Mat, Clear with Color Disks
  • 1 CVI Mat, Red/Clear
  • 1 CVI Mat, Yellow/Clear
Product Number: 1-08153-00

Swirly Mat Set: FVA:

FVA Swirly Mats Includes:

  • 1 FVA Mat, Pink/Clear with Color Disks
  • 1 FVA Mat, Red/Yellow with Sea Life Confetti
  • 1 FVA Mat, Green/Clear with Silver Heart Confetti
Catalog Number: 1-08154-00
Click this link to purchase the Swirly Mat Sets from APH.

Note: Always provide adult supervision when using Swirly Mats with young children. Mats are completely sealed; however, in the event of a rupture, small pieces inside the mats may present a choking hazard. Liquids are non-toxic but will stain. Use caution. Not intended for children ages 5 and under without adult supervision.

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
E-mail: info@aph.org
Web site: http://www.aph.org
APH Shopping Home: http://shop.aph.org

Variable Beam Flashlight Kit

Variable Beam Flashlight Kit

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

  • Includes two variable beam flashlights
  • Includes two sets of eight translucent and seven transparent color lenses (30 lenses total)
  • Includes new Color Beam Book
  • Uses AAA batteries (included)

Recommended ages: all ages

Variable Beam Flashlight Kit:
Catalog Number: 1-08390-02

Color Beam Book with CD, Braille Edition:
Catalog Number: 5-08390-00

Color Beam Book with CD, Large Print Edition:
Catalog Number: 7-08390-00
Click this link to purchase the Variable Beam Flashlight Kit. 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
E-mail: info@aph.org
Web site: http://www.aph.org
APH Shopping Home: http://shop.aph.org

UltraLens for Vision Development Activities

UltraLens

Black lights, which generate both UV and blue light, are sometimes used in vision development activities. UltraLens glasses screen out 100% of UV and blue light while still allowing the wearer to see the "glow" of materials as they fluoresce. A soft case is included with each UltraLens. Note: Filters like the UltraLens should always be worn by both the practitioner and the child during exposure.

UltraLens:

Infant with Headstrap:
Catalog Number: 1-08177-00

Jr. with Headstrap:
Catalog Number: 1-08176-00

Jr. Clip-On (for the child who wears spectacles):
Catalog Number: 1-08178-00

Adult (can be worn alone, or over spectacles):
Catalog Number: 1-08175-00
Click this link to purchase the UltraLens from APH.

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
E-mail: info@aph.org
Web site: http://www.aph.org
APH Shopping Home: http://shop.aph.org

ECO: Helping the Blind to Enjoy Art

From the website:

"ECO was founded as an on-line knowledge base in 2006, in order to provide research resources, information and a gallery about blindness in the arts. It has now expanded, however, to include information about blindness in information technology and computing as well. Its aim is to introduce these subjects as fields of study.

ECO is a webpage for educators and practitioners of the arts or information technology, or simply people who have an intellectual interest in touch arts, computer programming, IT, access or disability. It is an electronic resource to introduce you to the ideas behind this topic. It is also the beginnings of an on-line library on this subject.

Most importantly, as an electronic resource ECO is accessible to people with disabilities. It is practical and academic, but at the same time it aims to be non-elitist."

Click this link to learn more about ECO by visiting http://www.blindnessandarts.com.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Let's See: Vision Development Activities Kit

Let's See Sensory Activities Kit
Let's See is a program designed to develop visual skills in young children who are visually impaired or multiply disabled.
Two stages, sold separately, are:
  • Sensory Activities Kit: Builds basic visual skills essential to concept development. Includes materials that utilize daylight, dim light, and flashlight
  • Activities to engage initial visual interest and keep and localize visual attention.
  • Perceptual Activities Kit: Builds on Sensory Activities to help students develop visual-perceptual and visual-discrimination proficiency. Brightly-colored, glowing, and flashing materials are used in these activities.
Let's See: Vision Development Activities:

Perceptual Activities Kit (Includes large print manual):
Catalog Number: 1-08151-00

Manuals Available Separately

Sensory Activities Manual


Braille Edition:
Catalog Number: 5-08141-00

Cassette Edition:
Catalog Number: C-08141-00

Perceptual Activities Manual


Braille Edition:
Catalog Number: 5-08151-00

Cassette Edition:
Catalog Number: C-08151-00
Click this link to purchase the Let's See Sensory Activities Kit.

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
E-mail: info@aph.org
Web site: http://www.aph.org
APH Shopping Home: http://shop.aph.org

Teen Scene: Portraits of Success Video

Teen Scene: Portraits of Success

Starring four Kentucky teenagers with low vision, this 39-minute video will make you laugh, warm your heart, and make you feel as though you know these teens! It's all about being successful, self-advocating, dating, playing sports, or achieving in school or on the job. Our four stars will show you how it's done. Available in VHS video or DVD formats. Closed captioned.

Teen Scene:

VHS Video: Catalog Number: 1-30011-00

DVD: Catalog Number: 1-30011-DVD
Click this link to purchase Teen Scene: Portraits of Success.

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
E-mail: info@aph.org
Web site: http://www.aph.org
APH Shopping Home: http://shop.aph.org

Monoculars Won't Roll Away with RollBusters from APH

RollBusters

The original RollBusters from APH are foam rings that keep your monocular from rolling away and provide some protection from impact. The RollBuster rings come in pairs. You supply your own monocular. You place one ring around each end of your monocular. The rings friction-fit to the monocular and have flat surfaces on their outside edge so that the monocular is prevented from rolling. RollBusters come in a set of five pairs, with four different sizes. The sizes of the inside diameters are: triangles -25 mm; squares -28 mm; pentagons - 30 mm; and hexagons -40 mm (there are two pairs of the 30 mm size).

RollBuster (set of five pairs):
Catalog Number: 1-03195-00
Click this link to purchase RollBusters from APH.

RollBuster II

RollBuster II

Keep monoculars in reach during classroom activities, while protecting them from rolling. RollBuster II mini-bags also provide some impact protection. Comes in two kid-friendly styles. The mini-duffel bag fits monoculars up to 4 inches in length and up to 1 1/2 inches in diameter. The mini-backpack fits monoculars up to 5 inches in length and up to 1 3/4 inches in diameter or a monocular which is oval or irregular in shape. Bag has a strip of extra hook / loop material stitched to its underside to allow attachment to a flat surface.

RollBuster II

Mini-Backpack:
Catalog Number: 1-03196-00

Mini-Duffel Bag:
Catalog Number: 1-03197-00
Click this link to purchase the RollBuster II from APH.

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
E-mail: info@aph.org
Web site: http://www.aph.org
APH Shopping Home: http://shop.aph.org

Bright Line Reading Guide

Bright Line Reading Guide

This tool for low vision readers can be placed over text to highlight, eliminate glare, and promote maximum contrast. The guide provides a black reference line that helps the reader keep his or her place on the page. The guide is 10 inches long, but can be cut to any size and three-hole punched for placement in a binder. Each pink or yellow guide comes in a vinyl protective pouch.

Bright Line Reading Guide

Yellow (package of 2):
Catalog Number: 1-03060-00

Pink (package of 2):
Catalog Number: 1-03061-00
Click this link to purchase the Bright Line Reading 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
E-mail: info@aph.org
Web site: http://www.aph.org
APH Shopping Home: http://shop.aph.org

Individual Study Screen (ISS)

Individual Study Screen

Allows low vision students to view films and slides close up. A rear-projection technique is used to enable one student to get as close to the screen as he or she requires. Constructed of tough plastic, screen measures 13 x 10 1/2 inches. Image is projected on a frosted plastic insert. Recommended ages: 6+

Individual Study Screen:
Catalog Number: 1-03300-00
Click this link to purchase the Individual Study Screen (ISS).

Click here to purchase these items through our Quick Order Entry page: http://shop.aph.org/quickentry.asp

If you need assistance, click this link to read the Fred's Head Companion post "Purchasing Products From The APH Website Is Easy".

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
E-mail: info@aph.org
Web site: http://www.aph.org
APH Shopping Home: http://shop.aph.org

ZoomView Electronic Magnifier

ZoomView

Simple, low-cost video display magnifier. Use with a computer monitor or a television. Uses the latest in Fresnel optics, a type of flat plastic magnifier. Can be used for video screens up to 25" diagonal measurement. Self-standing table-top model. Magnification up to 60% larger than the original image. Instructions in large print.

ZoomView:
Catalog Number: 1-03919-00
Click this link to purchase the ZoomView from APH.

Note: Not available for purchase with Federal Quota funds.

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
E-mail: info@aph.org
Web site: http://www.aph.org
APH Shopping Home: http://shop.aph.org

Accessible Events with Serotek

Serotek has released Accessible Event, an online platform that makes group meetings, webinars, lectures and other events accessible to the blind, deaf and blind/deaf. Attendees who do not require assistive technology participate as they normally would; unaware that Accessible Event is running. No installation is required so no trace of use is left on any computer or device.

Accessible Event is ADA compliant (Americans with Disabilities Act) and is available to corporations, schools, and public entertainment forums, as well as online tradeshow and special event sponsors and other organizations. It can be purchased per-incident, on a monthly or annual basis, or as an enterprise server configuration and requires only an internet connection and Adobe Flash to function.

Much like a conference bridge, presenters set up an event and a meeting code is provided to invited participants. Attendees who prefer assistive technology simply visit the Accessible Event web site from the browser of any computer or portable device, enter the meeting code, and the meeting becomes instantly accessible.

Accessible Event works with presentations designed in the Microsoft(R) Word(TM), Excel(R), and PowerPoint(R) or Adobe(R) Acrobat(R), with those featuring displays in Microsoft Outlook(R), or web pages in Serotek SAMNet(TM), Microsoft Internet Explorer(R) 7 or higher, or Mozilla(R) Firefox(R), and with online meeting services such as Cisco WebEx, Citrix(R) GoToMeeting(R) and GoToWebinar(R), Adobe Acrobat Connect(R), Microsoft LiveMeeting, and more.

Presenters determine the date of expiration so events can remain available or limited to a specific timeframe. Accessible Event can run beside any online meeting or webinar service. At the end of the session, a pop-up exit option will notify the host to close the session.

For more information, visit http://www.serotek.com.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Learn About the Senses at Sensehub

Sense, a UK deafblind charity has created a portal called Sensehub at http://www.sensehub.org.uk. It allows people to enter and share a world of sensory experiences online.

Sensehub will feature lots of interactive elements, including:

  • Sensori, a live twitter feed that captures every twitter relating to senses like smell, taste, touch, sight and hearing,
  • Sensemarks, a live feed of bookmarks capturing everything about the senses, and
  • a whole new way of tagging your facebook photos.

From the weird to the wonderful, you’ll find it all at Sensehub. On behalf of the UK's 250,000 deafblind people, we would greatly appreciate if you could help us share this portal link.

Click this link to learn more about Sense: http://www.sense.org.uk.

Graph Sheets and Progress Charts from APH

Bold-line graph sheets have thick unit lines and thinner sub-unit lines. 100 sheets per package. Embossed graph sheets have braille dot grids on manila paper. Embossed graph sheets and progress charts have 50 sheets per package.

Bold Line Graph Sheets: 0.5 Inch Squares, Coordinate Axes:
Catalog Number: 1-04061-00

Bold Line Graph Sheets: 0.25 Inch Squares:
Catalog Number: 1-04062-00

Bold Line Graph Sheets: 0.5 Inch Squares for Bar Graphs:
Catalog Number: 1-04063-00

Bold Line Graph Sheets: 0.75 Inch Squares:
Catalog Number: 1-04064-00

Bold Line Graph Sheets: 1 Inch Squares:
Catalog Number: 1-04065-00
Click this link to purchase Bold Line Graph Sheets from APH.

Embossed Graph Sheets: 0.5 Inch Squares, Coordinate Axes:
Catalog Number: 1-04052-00

Embossed Graph Sheets: 0.5 Inch Squares, for Bar Graphs:
Catalog Number: 1-04053-00

Embossed Graph Sheets: 0.75 Inch Squares:
Catalog Number: 1-04054-00

Embossed Graph Sheets: 1 Inch Squares:
Catalog Number: 1-04055-00
Click this link to purchase Embossed Graph Sheets from APH.

Low-Relief Embossed Graph Sheets

For teachers and transcribers to use in making charts and graphs. Grid is embossed on 80 pound braille paper measuring 11 1/2 x 11 inches with margins. Comes in four varieties. 25 sheets per package.

0.4 inch squares, 19 x 19 grid:
Catalog Number: 1-04046-00

1/2 inch squares, 17 x 16 grid:
Catalog Number: 1-04047-00

5/8 inch squares, 13 x 12 grid:
Catalog Number: 1-04048-00

3/4 inch squares, 11 x 10 grid:
Catalog Number: 1-04049-00
Click this link to purchase the Low-Relief Embossed Graph Sheets from APH.

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
E-mail: info@aph.org
Web site: http://www.aph.org
APH Shopping Home: http://shop.aph.org

Custom-Printed Graph Paper for Free

Finding some simple 2mm graph paper with something like 1cm semi bold and 2 cm bold can be a challenge sometimes. Wouldn't it be great if you could create exactly what you need when it comes to graph paper? You can with the Graph Paper PDF Generator at incompetech.com.

The generator does plain paper, lined paper, multi width, hexagonal, even semi-bisected trapezoid! All completely customizable. And it's free!

Click this link to create Custom-Printed Graph Paper.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Braille Paper from APH

APH offers a wide array of braille paper for use with slates, braillewriters, computer braille embossers, and vacuum-form machines. Note: All sheet quantities are approximate; all sizes are in inches.

White Braille Paper

This 80# paper is for use with braille slates and braillers.

3 3/4 x 5 3/4 inches (Fits in Pocket Notebook) -- 6-Hole Punch, 250 sheets
Catalog Number: 1-04390-00

8 1/2 x 11 inches (All 28-Cell Slates) -- Unpunched, 200 sheets
Catalog Number: 1-04151-00

8 1/2 x 11 inches 3-Hole Punch, 150 sheets
Catalog Number: 1-04401-00

11 1/2 x 11 (38 or 41-Cell Slate) -- Unpunched, 150 sheets
Catalog Number: 1-04221-00

11 1/2 x 11 inches -- 3-Hole Punch, 110 sheets
Catalog Number: 1-04471-00
Click this link to purchase White Braille Paper from APH.

White Fanfold Tractor-Feed Braille Transcribing Paper

White Fanfold Tractor-Feed Braille Transcribing Paper

Low dust. For use with computer-driven braille embossing devices. It has a smooth surface. Tractor-feed holes may be torn off. 100# paper.

11 1/2 x 11 inches -- Unpunched, 1000 sheets
Catalog Number: 1-04139-00

11 1/2 x 11 inches -- Both 3-Hole and 19-Hole Punch, 1000 sheets
Catalog Number: 1-04140-00
Click this link to purchase White Fanfold Tractor-Feed Braille Transcribing Paper from APH.

Manila Braille Transcribing Paper

Heavyweight 100# paper, for use with slates and braillewriters, holds dots well and can be used to create braille masters for vacuum-form machines.

8 1/2 x 11 inches -- Unpunched, 500 sheets
Catalog Number: 1-04530-00

8 1/2 x 11 inches -- 3-Hole Punch, 500 sheets
Catalog Number: 1-04660-00

11 1/2 x 11 inches -- Unpunched, 500 sheets
Catalog Number: 1-04540-00

11 1/2 x 11 inches -- 3-Hole Punch, 500 sheets
Catalog Number: 1-04680-00

11 1/2 x 11 inches -- 19-Hole Punch, 500 sheets
Catalog Number: 1-04650-00
Click this link to purchase Manila Braille Transcribing Paper from APH.

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
E-mail: info@aph.org
Web site: http://www.aph.org
APH Shopping Home: http://shop.aph.org

Student Starter Pack

Student Starter Pack

APH is offering a kit of basic braille materials packaged for students who are taking beginning braille classes. It includes 150 sheets of 8 1/2 x 11 manila transcribing paper, 150 sheets of 11 1/2 x 11 manila transcribing paper, a 4-line 28-cell aluminum slate with Saddle Stylus, and a Cranmer abacus. Although originally designed for university students, this is a great beginner pack for any student or adult.

Student Starter Pack:
Catalog Number: 1-00350-00
Click this link to purchase APH's Student Starter Pack.

Click here to purchase these items through our Quick Order Entry page: http://shop.aph.org/quickentry.asp

If you need assistance, click this link to read the Fred's Head Companion post "Purchasing Products From The APH Website Is Easy".

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
E-mail: info@aph.org
Web site: http://www.aph.org
APH Shopping Home: http://shop.aph.org

QuickBraille Kit

QuickBraille Kit

The QuickBraille kit consists of a six-line by 19-cell slate, 10 six-section sheets of perforated fanfold paper, and APH's Large Flat Stylus housed in a pocket pouch. Load one perforated section into the slate and put it in the pocket pouch ready for use in an instant to jot down telephone numbers, reminders, directions, etc.

QuickBraille Kit:
Catalog Number: 1-00086-00

Accordion Paper Refill (10 sheets of 6 notes each):
Catalog Number: 1-00086-01
Click this link to purchase APH's QuickBraille Kit.

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
E-mail: info@aph.org
Web site: http://www.aph.org
APH Shopping Home: http://shop.aph.org

Mailing Envelopes for Braille

Mailing Envelopes for Braille

Designed for mailing or storing brailled sheets up to 11 1/2 x 11 inches. White, blank envelopes with self-sealing flaps. Measure 12 1/2 x 12 1/2 inches. Will hold approximately 30 sheets. 25 pack.

Mailing Envelopes:
Catalog Number: 1-04230-00
Click this link to purchase a pack of Mailing Envelopes for Braille.

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
E-mail: info@aph.org
Web site: http://www.aph.org
APH Shopping Home: http://shop.aph.org

Covers for Braille Documents

Covers for Braille Documents

Plastic covers measure 11 3/4 x 11 inches and are designed to bind 11 1/2 x 11 inch braille pages. May be bound with a 19-ring comb binding or twin loop binding. Will bind tractor-feed or manila 19-hole papers available from APH.

Royal Blue Covers:
Catalog Number: 1-04010-01

Clear Frosted Covers:
Catalog Number: 1-04010-02
Click this link to purchase Covers for Braille Documents.

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
E-mail: info@aph.org
Web site: http://www.aph.org
APH Shopping Home: http://shop.aph.org

APH Friction Pad Kit

APH Friction Pad Kit

Three assorted sizes of self-adhesive, plastic foam strips. Apply to the bottom of devices such as abacuses or desk slates, which tend to slip while in use.

APH Friction Pad Kit:
Catalog Number: 1-03190-00
Click this link to purchase an APH Friction Pad Kit.

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
E-mail: info@aph.org
Web site: http://www.aph.org
APH Shopping Home: http://shop.aph.org

Stokes Braille Place Holder

Stokes Braille Place Holder

This device marks the spot where you stopped reading on a braille page. Consists of a sheet of brightly-painted metal measuring 11 x 9 1/2 inches and a strip of magnetic plastic. Metal sheet slips under the braille page and the magnet is placed at the last line read.

Stokes Braille Place Holder:
Catalog Number: 1-03590-00
Click this link to purchase the Stokes Braille Place Holder.

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
E-mail: info@aph.org
Web site: http://www.aph.org
APH Shopping Home: http://shop.aph.org

Braille Erasers from APH

Braille Erasers

Writing braille can be challenging to someone who is new at it. Why not get them a tool that they will surely use? Braille is much easier to read if you use an eraser to remove unwanted dots from a cell instead of simply scratching out the entire cell.

APH offers two types of braille erasers: Wooden Eraser -- 2 1/2 inches long
Catalog Number: 1-00270-00

Plastic Eraser -- One Broad, One Narrow End -- 5 inches long
Catalog Number: 1-00280-00
Click this link to purchase any of the Braille Erasers from APH.

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
E-mail: info@aph.org
Web site: http://www.aph.org
APH Shopping Home: http://shop.aph.org

Friday, June 19, 2009

Braille Styluses from APH

All styluses from APH have a metal point:

Wood-Handled Braille Styluses

Wood-Handled Braille Styluses

This stylus comes in two sizes, both have wood handles and metal points. One side of the Large Wood-Handled Stylus is flattened to prevent it from rolling. Large stylus measures 2 3/8 x 7/8 inches, while the Small stylus measures 1 7/8 x 3/4 inches. Sold individually.

Large Handle Stylus -- Wooden, Side of Handle is Flat-- 2 3/8 x 7/8 inches
Catalog Number: 1-00200-00

Small Handle Stylus -- Wooden -- 1 7/8 x 3/4 inches
Catalog Number: 1-00220-00
Click this link to purchase either of the Wood-Handled Braille Styluses.

Saddle-Shaped Braille Stylus

Saddle-Shaped Stylus

This stylus is designed to provide a sure grip. Your index finger will fit snugly into a concave dip in the top of the handle. This is a plastic-handled stylus with a metal point. It measures 2 5/8 x 1 1/4 inches.

Saddle-Shaped Stylus -- Plastic, Concave "Dip" in Handle -- 2 5/8 x 1 1/4 inches
Catalog Number: 1-00120-00
Click this link to purchase the Saddle-Shaped Braille Stylus.

Flat Stylus

Flat Stylus

This thin stylus can be easily kept in the pocket of a notebook or binder and is flat to prevent rolling. It comes in two color-coded sizes. Large Yellow Flat Stylus -- Fits in Notebook
Catalog Number: 1-00121-00

Small Green Flat Stylus -- Fits in Notebook
Catalog Number: 1-00122-00
Click this link to purchase a Flat Stylus from APH.

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
E-mail: info@aph.org
Web site: http://www.aph.org
APH Shopping Home: http://shop.aph.org

Embossed Pencil Writing Paper

Embossed Pencil Writing Paper

Provides heavy raised lines to guide students or adults in handwriting. 22 lines per each sheet. Measures 8 3/4 x 10 1/2 inches and is in pads of approximately 165 sheets.

Embossed Pencil Writing Paper:
Catalog Number: 1-04560-00
Click this link to purchase Embossed Pencil Writing Paper from APH.

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
E-mail: info@aph.org
Web site: http://www.aph.org
APH Shopping Home: http://shop.aph.org

Beginner's Writing Paper

Special paper helps students practice manuscript and cursive writing. Top of sheet is printed with a sample alphabet, followed by bold lines for practice. Printed on white paper with black ink, measures 11 x 8 1/2 inches. Plain (no alphabet) is also available. Recommended ages: 5 years and older.

With Alphabet, Padded, 100 sheets:

Upper Case Cursive:
Catalog Number: 1-04890-00

Lower Case Cursive:
Catalog Number: 1-04900-00

Upper Case Manuscript:
Catalog Number: 1-04910-00

Lower Case Manuscript:
Catalog Number: 1-04920-00
Click this link to purchase the Beginner's Writing Paper with Alphabet.

Plain, Padded, -- 500 sheets:

8 1/2 Inch Wide:
Catalog Number: 1-04731-00

11 Inch Wide:
Catalog Number: 1-04741-00
Click this link to purchase the Beginner's Writing Paper: Plain.

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
E-mail: info@aph.org
Web site: http://www.aph.org
APH Shopping Home: http://shop.aph.org

Script Letter Sheet and Board

Students can explore and trace upper and lower case letters, about 3/4 inch high, with these two related products, sold separately. Recommended ages: 10 years and older.

Script Letter Sheet

Script Letter Sheet

Alphabet of script (cursive) letters embossed on a sheet of white braille paper. Pack of 100 sheets.

Script Letter Sheet:
Catalog Number: 1-04060-00
Click this link to purchase the Script Letter Sheet from APH.

Script Letter Board

Script Letter Board

Use a pencil to trace the incised script (cursive) letters on this stiff white plastic board. Rubber pads prevent slipping.

Script Letter Board:
Catalog Number: 1-04041-00
Click this link to purchase the Script Letter Board from APH.

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
E-mail: info@aph.org
Web site: http://www.aph.org
APH Shopping Home: http://shop.aph.org

Tactile Marking Mat

Tactile Marking Mat

A 17 x 13 1/2 inch textured plastic sheet for use with included embossed-line Longhand Writing Paper or other thin paper. Mat's texture causes wax crayon marks to be tactile. Use for drawing, practicing handwriting, and creating simple diagrams. Includes 100 sheets of paper. Instructions in print and braille. Recommended ages: 3 years and up.

Tactile Marking Mat:
Catalog Number: 1-03331-00
Click this link to purchase the Tactile Marking Mat.

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
E-mail: info@aph.org
Web site: http://www.aph.org
APH Shopping Home: http://shop.aph.org

Freund Longhand Writing Kit

Freund Longhand Writing Kit

Helps students learn cursive writing. Includes an embossed workbook for practicing the alphabet, a Tactile Marking Mat (also available separately), a pad of 100 sheets of embossed-line paper for use with the Marking Mat, and a manual in both regular type and braille. Recommended ages: 8 years and older.

Freund Kit:
Catalog Number: 1-03330-00

Items available separately:

Teacher's Manuals:

Braille:
Catalog Number: 5-73970-00

Print:
Catalog Number: 7-73970-00

Longhand Writing Paper (100 sheet pads):

Embossed:
Catalog Number: 1-03340-00

Plain:
Catalog Number: 1-03270-00
Click this link to purchase the Freund Longhand Writing Kit.

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
E-mail: info@aph.org
Web site: http://www.aph.org
APH Shopping Home: http://shop.aph.org

Braille Transcriber's Kit: Countries and Continents

Braille Transcriber's Kit: Countries and Continents

The Braille Transcriber's Kit: Countries and Continents is a collection of embossed and printed outlines of maps commonly found in history, geography, and social studies textbooks. Maps include:

  • Africa (political)
  • Africa (outline)
  • Asia (political)
  • Asia and Australia (outline)
  • Europe (political)
  • Europe (outline)
  • Middle East (political)
  • North America and Central America (political)
  • South America (political)
  • World (outline)

The embossed sheets may be used as templates when you create tactile maps. Add spur wheel lines, craft ink, glued-on textures, braille labels, etc.

The printed maps may be used as masters for "swell paper" tactile graphics. Photocopy the images onto your capsule paper, add labels, lines, and symbols, and produce the raised image by running the graphic through the heating machine.

Braille Transcriber's Kit: Countries and Continents
Catalog Number: 1-04102-00
Click this link to purchase the Braille Transcriber's Kit: Countries and Continents.

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
E-mail: info@aph.org
Web site: http://www.aph.org
APH Shopping Home: http://shop.aph.org

Thursday, June 18, 2009

All About Vision Web Site

The AllAboutVision.com web site was launched in January 2000 to provide consumers with an independent source of trustworthy information on eye health and vision correction options.

The site is owned by Access Media Group, whose two founders have more than 40 years of experience in eye care publishing. Their editorial board, writers, editors and reviewers have hundreds of years of combined experience in patient care, research, consulting and article authorship specific to eye care. The site is not owned in whole or in part by any supplier of eyecare products or services; it is funded solely by advertising and sponsorships.

The site's content is written by a team of journalists who have extensive experience in the eyecare field. In addition, articles are developed with the input of an Advisory Board of eyecare professionals. All health-related articles are approved by one or more eye doctors on their Board.

Many eye care products and services are available to improve your vision and eye health. However, each is effective only when used properly and in the right circumstances. Please make decisions about your eyes and vision in consultation with an eye care professional who can provide guidance based on their experience and knowledge of your individual needs.

Use the contact information below to learn more about this site, or about the Access Media Group.

Access Media Group
11 Campus Boulevard
Suite 100
Newtown Square, PA 19073
Web: http://www.allaboutvision.com/

Braille Transcriber's Kit: U.S. Maps

Braille Transcriber's Kit: U.S. Maps

The Braille Transcriber's Kit: U.S. Maps is a collection of embossed and printed drawings of figures commonly found in history, geography, and social studies textbooks. The embossed sheets may be used as templates for thermoforming. Add to them with spur wheel lines, craft ink, glued-on textures, braille labels, and other tactile graphics materials. The printed maps may be used as outlines for tracing or as masters for "swell paper" tactile graphics. Maps include:

  • North America, including Canada, the United States, and Mexico
  • U.S. outline (Alaska and Hawaii included, not to scale)
  • U.S. with 50 states outlined
  • Western region states
  • Eastern region states
  • Original 13 colonies
Braille Transcriber's Kit: U.S. Maps:
Catalog Number: 1-04101-00
Click this link to purchase the Braille Transcriber's Kit: U.S. Maps.

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
E-mail: info@aph.org
Web site: http://www.aph.org
APH Shopping Home: http://shop.aph.org

Braille Transcriber's Kit: Math

Braille Transcriber's Kit: Math

Make braille transcription of elementary math books quicker with this collection of raised-line graphics of commonly occurring figures. Master sheets contain five each of:

  • rulers
  • number lines
  • protractors
  • unlabeled thermometers
  • clock faces
  • three sizes of low-relief graph paper

Master sheets can be thermoformed to provide multiple copies of figures. Embossed on white braille paper measuring 11 1/2 x 11 inches.

Braille Transcriber's Kit: Math:
Catalog Number: 1-04100-00
Click this link to purchase the Braille Transcriber's Kit: Math.

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
E-mail: info@aph.org
Web site: http://www.aph.org
APH Shopping Home: http://shop.aph.org

What Makes U.S. Olympian Marla Runyan Run?

Fast Facts about: Marla Runyan, U.S. Olympic Athlete

Date of Birth: January 4, 1969
Occupation: Track & Field Athlete
Biggest Moments: (1) Running in the 1500 meter finals at the 2000 Olympic Games, Sydney Australia. (2) Winning four events at the 1992 Paralympic Games, Barcelona Spain.
Quote: "Running is not just an activity or a sport that I do -- it is an action that will teach you things about yourself."

What Makes Marla Runyan Run?

The scene is a crowded, noisy stadium in Sydney Australia. The event is the finals of the Women's 1500 meter race in track and field. The moment is one every athlete dreams of--the chance to win an Olympic Gold Medal.

The starter pistol fires and the runners leave their marks. For the first 80 meters, they run fast and hard. But then the pace begins to slow. The lead runners gear down in order to conserve strength for a strong, spirited dash during the stretch.

As the pace slows, the runners begin to form a tight pack. In the middle of the pack, among the jostle of elbows, is U.S. track & field athlete Marla Runyan. Marla can't distinguish the faces of the runners around her. She can't see the finish line. Marla is legally blind, her vision 20/400 due to Stargardt's Disease, a hereditary, non-correctable form of Macular Degeneration.

And at that moment in the race, Marla is not happy. She isn't the fastest runner on the track. Marla knows this. What she has in abundance is strength and stamina: her best hope to medal is for a fast race that causes the speed-demons up front to burn their energy early. But at the slow pace they're running now, the faster runners will be fresh as daisies for the finish. Someone will have to pick up the pace, and soon. No one makes a break. Well then, Marla decides, she'll have to be the someone who does it.

For those who know her, it comes as no surprise that Marla set the pace in the biggest race of her life. Besides strength and stamina, Marla Runyan has something that can't be measured in meters or hundredths of seconds. Marla has heart.

This strong drive to succeed and excel is what prompts Marla to lace up her running shoes six days every week (sometimes twice a day) for training. It helps her maintain a strict diet and rest schedule. It's also what's helped her out-distance the doubters -- those who said her visual impairment would hold her back-- and do what she has always loved doing: running.

Once she made up her mind to pick up the pace in the 1,500 at Sydney, nothing could stop her. Certainly not Stargardt's. The disease has created what Marla describes as "holes" in her vision: these holes can cause people and objects even just a few feet in front of her to "disappear" and then "reappear" when she shifts her gaze. Off the track, this can cause her to not recognize a close friend or coach even though they are standing right in front of her.

When she is racing, "I have to constantly remind myself that the runners ahead may not really be as far ahead as they appear to me," she says. She does have good peripheral vision. This allows Marla to see the track and even navigate around and through a pack of runners.

"Since we are all moving in the same direction, and because we are so close together, often bumping elbows, I have no trouble seeing my opponents and moving about them," she explains.

Which is just what she did in Sydney.

Marla wove through the pack and made her way to the front. Now she was in the lead with a little more than 700 meters to go. The maneuver cost her a lot of energy. And serving as the pace setter isn't Marla's race. When the sprinters made their moves with 200 meters to go, Marla didn't have enough left in the tank to hold them off. When she crossed the finish line--just two and one-half seconds behind the medalists--she had finished in eighth place. Marla wouldn't leave Sydney with a medal -- but she would leave as having been the first athlete to have competed in both the Paralympic and the Olympic Games. She could also leave knowing she gave it her best shot.

Marla started down the path that led to that incredible moment in Sydney as a child in California. Correction: she ran down that path. "All children run," she says. "It is natural. I never started running, I just never stopped."

At the age of nine, she noticed she was having trouble reading the words on the blackboard at school. Before long, she was holding her textbooks an inch from her nose and still having difficulty reading the print. Doctors confirmed that there was something wrong with her vision, and they had a name for it: Stargardt's Disease.

Marla adapted. She used a magnifier and monocular to read her school books. She attended college, using Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) or a computer equipped with screen magnification software to read printed materials. Through it all, Marla ran. She ran so well that she made her college track team.

She quickly learned that some people treat you differently when they discover you have a visual impairment. They mistake blindness with helplessness. "Some people have low expectations," of people who have visual impairments says Marla. "This is sometimes more disabling than blindness."

These encounters led her to try and hide her blindness. For the most part, she believes, she succeeded. She learned to recognize voices in order to identify people. "I have done well at hiding my blindness as a runner," Marla explains. "So I never experienced much prejudice since most people did not know about it. Even my college coach forgot about it."

Marla decided to stop attempting to hide her visual impairment. In 1992 she practically owned the Paralympics by winning the 100-, 200- and 400-meter races, as well as the long jump competition.

Reaching such a level didn't come without hard work and lot of miles of running well beyond the point when both body and mind beg for a break. For Marla, it's part of the process of running that one just has to accept. "It's all about making a commitment," she explains. "I set goals, mostly personal goals, and move up a little at a time."

She began setting those goals when she was still in high school. She competed in high school meets, then joined a college team, and eventually qualified for and was invited to join the national team. In between she ran a lot of races, getting stronger, faster and more comfortable racing with a visual impairment.

What does it take for someone to get into competitive shape? "Three days a week I run twice a day, morning and afternoon," she explains. "On a hard afternoon training session, I will rest that day and prepare for the workout mentally and physically."

She runs 65 to 70 miles a week on average as part of her training. She runs on tracks, roads, and also on trails. "I like to familiarize myself with the trail or track before the race, but this is not always possible," she says. "At the Olympics, no one is allowed in the stadium until their race is about to begin. On trails and roads, I have memorized my running routes throughout the town where I live, but if I travel I like having someone to run with me the first few times so I can become used to the route. Tracks are less of a problem since they are all flat, all 400 meters, and well, I have run so many ovals in my life I have that down pretty good."

She tailors her training schedule for the specific event in which she will be competing. In addition to the 1500 meters, she competes in 3,000 and 5,000 meters races. "These events suit me best I feel because I seem to respond well and adapt well to endurance and stamina."

When she's not on the track, Marla is hardly idle. "Suprisingly, much of my time is spent recovering from hard training," she says. "My workouts are very high quality and specific -- and it takes longer to recover from training than to train itself." She also enjoys listening to audio books, and going out for hikes with her dog Summer on trails near her Oregon home.

While she didn't medal at Sydney, Marla didn't walk away from the experience disappointed. She says the experience was enriching in many ways. "(The Olympics were) a good experience for me to have--it taught me a great deal about my weaknesses and what I need to improve on," she says. "And obviously it was an honor to represent my country."

The experience also elevated her standing as one of the sport's premier athletes. It has also raised expectations. "There are higher expectations of me now when I race. There's a little added pressure if I allow it to get to me."

If there is pressure, Marla is leaving it in her dust. In February of 2001, she set a new American record in the 5,000 meter indoor with a time of 15:07:33. It was just her second time racing at this distance.

What advice does she have for other people who are blind or visually impaired who dream of one day competing at the highest levels whether it is in sports, business, school or science? Marla credits much of her success to people (coaches, training partners and family members) who were and are positive influences in her life. "Find the right people who believe in you and will help you to accomplish your goals, and avoid the doubters and those who can not contribute to your goals and dreams."

While not everyone is suited for being an Olympic or Paralympic athlete, each person is capable of achieving something special. For that reason, Marla advises finding something, anything, that you like to do and doing it to the best of your abilities. For Marla, that "something" is running.

"For me, the enjoyment of running is the act itself. I enjoy the natural movement, the way it makes me feel, and how I can experience the world through running. I like the challenge and the reward of hard work. Through my experiences as a runner, I have grown and evolved as a person. The work ethic and goal-oriented lifestyle I live as an athlete carries over into my life off the track."

That's a good example for anyone. In fact, you could says it's as good as gold.

Want to learn more about Marla Runyan? Look for her autobiography, "No Finish Line," published by Putnam in 2001, at your school or local library.

Olympian Marla Runyan Gives Advice to those Living with Low Vision

Click this link from YouTube to watch Marla as she talks about living with low vision and demonstrates a magnification device call the Flipper.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Swail Dot Inverter

Swail Dot Inverter

Construct simple diagrams, graphs, maps, etc. by embossing a series of single dots. Includes a special metal stylus and a 12 x 12 inch rubber pad. Braille paper (sold separately) is placed on top of the pad. Special stylus allows dots to be embossed upwards by puncturing the paper on the down stroke and then pulling the dot upwards on the up stroke (leaves undetectable hole in dot). Works best with Brailon plastic braille paper, available from American Thermoform, www.americanthermoform.com. Recommended ages: 5 years and older.

Swail Dot Inverter:
Catalog Number: 1-03610-00

Replacement Rubber Pad:
Catalog Number: 1-03620-00
Click this link to purchase the Swail Dot Inverter.

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
E-mail: info@aph.org
Web site: http://www.aph.org
APH Shopping Home: http://shop.aph.org

Textured Paper Collection

Textured Paper Collection

The Textured Paper Collection contains tactile colored sheets that can be cut out and applied to another surface for many purposes:

  • To make tactile items on worksheets
  • To create areal patterns in tactile diagrams
  • To add texture to adapted storybooks
  • To create tactile artworks
  • To label household items or books

The kit includes the following:

  • Blue and neon green embossed paper (2 sheets each)
  • Yellow and clear vinyl (1 sheet each)
  • Red, orange, green, and black Tactile Colours (R) (1 sheet each)
  • Double-sided adhesive (7 sheets)
Textured Paper Collection:
Catalog Number: 1-03275-00
Click this link to purchase the Textured Paper Collection.

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
E-mail: info@aph.org
Web site: http://www.aph.org
APH Shopping Home: http://shop.aph.org

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