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.)


Friday, May 17, 2013

2013 Inductees into the Hall of Fame for Leaders and Legends of the Blindness Field Announced

Martha Louise Morrow Foxx and Laurence Clifton Jones Inducted into Hall of Fame

The Hall of Fame is dedicated to preserving the tradition of excellence manifested by specific individuals through the history of outstanding services provided to people who are blind or visually impaired in North America. It is housed at the American Printing House for the Blind (APH) in Louisville, Kentucky, but belongs to all.

The ceremony to induct Ms. Foxx and Dr. Jones, connected through their work at Mississippi’s Piney Woods Country Life School, will take place on Friday evening, October 18, 2013 in conjunction with APH's Annual Meeting of Ex Officio Trustees and Special Guests, at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Louisville, Kentucky.  Joining the fifty outstanding legends previously inducted, are these two remarkable historic figures who literally changed lives and altered history. Their stories of accomplishment, in the face of staggering odds, are still powerfully touching lives. Dr. Jones and Ms. Foxx opened, and held open, a door that was seen as forever closed to black Americans, including those who were blind. Their heroic actions were not accomplished without personal danger and danger to their fellow workers, to their supporters, and to the students in their charge.

The Class of 2013:

Martha Louise Morrow Foxx (1902 - 1975)

Ms. Foxx was the primary teacher of the blind at the Piney Woods Country Life School in Mississippi from 1929 until 1942. She then became principal until 1951, when the school moved to a new campus in Jackson, thus becoming the Mississippi School for Blind Negroes, where she served as director until retirement in 1969. Martha Louise began her journey in the Piney Woods as an 18-year-old graduate of the Overbrook School for the Blind (PA). She went on to study at several colleges during summers, earning her bachelor and master degrees.   

Mrs. Foxx became widely known for her innovative and dynamic teaching philosophy which entailed instruction outside the walls of the school. She insisted that the students be allowed to enjoy outings into the woods around Piney Woods School to hone their senses of touch, sound, and smell. Using what were considered to be progressive techniques she taught students to read braille and large print and insisted that they learn to be self reliant and develop careers to insure they would succeed in making their own way after graduating from the school.  Teachers, both black and white, from around the country, came to the Piney Woods to learn and embrace her methods – all before PL 94-142, IDEA, and the Civil Rights movement. This was happening in the heart of our segregated country.  It took courage, persistence and unlimited patience. Her curriculum was adopted by the “white” school for the blind in the late 1940s.

“Challenging minds, expanding possibilities, securing opportunities, and changing what it means to be blind for African-Americans who happened to be blind - this is what Mrs. Fox did with her life.  She accepted the call, challenged her limits, and impacted lives by making a difference in the dignity and quality of life of hundreds of blind individuals who are now living all across America.  Those same individuals are carrying on her legacy not only today, but for many years to come.”   Barbara White Hadnott, former student

Laurence Clifton Jones 

The Piney Woods School was founded in 1909 by Dr. Jones as a place to provide vocational and academic schooling for poor black children and grandchildren of slaves in the rural piney woods area – just south of Jackson, Mississippi. The school started with one 16-year old student at a tree stump and the next day there were 2 more students.  As word got around, the school continued to grow.  

 Many students came in mule drawn wagons and were dropped off with tuition partially paid in crops and homemade goods. Their families left them at the school with the hope of a better life for them if they could only get an education. All students at the school were required to work helping to grow food for the school, building and repairing the grounds, or touring in music ensembles. In an early photograph the motto of the schools reads “Work is the Mother of Contentment.” 

In the 1920s, sparked by two events, Dr. Jones became aware that there was no school to educate Negro children who were blind. He observed a young blind girl begging on the streets of Vicksburg and a young blind boy, whose sharecropper parents were killed in a fire, was left at the school for him to care for.  Never one to turn away a child in need or a challenge, and believing every child deserved an opportunity, Dr. Jones added the education of blind children to the school’s purpose which remained a focus until 1951.

Dr. Jones authored several books and tirelessly toured the country telling of the work and inviting national and international dignitaries to visit the campus.  He attracted both white and black teachers from around the country to the Piney Woods to learn the methods used at the school for the blind. He advocated education which touched “the mind, the heart, and the hands.”  This credo was evidenced in education for the mind, spiritual growth and service for the heart, and putting the hands to good old fashioned work.

Dr. Jones was a pioneering educator of the blind in Mississippi and he is credited with guiding the Mississippi Blind School for Negroes towards its move to Jackson and eventually to integration.  The first big step was embodied by the creation of a new campus in Jackson in 1950, after almost 30 years of effort.  In 1945, Helen Keller, after visiting the school and learning of Dr. Jones and Miss Foxx and their work, helped convince the Mississippi legislature to fund the establishment of the school. The Piney Woods School received state funding and moved to become a sister school of the Jackson based Mississippi School for the Blind.

The combined efforts of Dr. Jones and Ms. Foxx were rewarded when the two campuses combined in 1974.
“Dr. Jones should be noted and recognized for his work in the field of blindness. Because of his willingness to take on the challenge of educating black children, including those that were blind, Mississippi can tout the legacy of Martha Foxx. Dr. Jones was the first spark that initiated a fireball of interest and support to educate all children, including those of former slaves and those who were blind. This leader dared to educate the excluded. This leader dared to include a department to educate the blind which was far different from the expectations during that time. His leadership and professional practice are unsurpassed.” Dr. Rosie L. T. Pridgen

For additional information on Dr. Jones, Ms. Foxx and the Piney Woods School, visit this website: or the Piney Woods School website:

 Additional information regarding the 2013 Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony will soon appear on the APH website, Visit the Hall of Fame website at for information on the Hall and those inducted.


The Hall of Fame Voluntary Governing Board:
Jane Erin (AZ), Chair
Ann MacCuspie (CAN), Secretary
Janie Blome (KY), Treasurer
Billy Brookshire (TX)
Mike Cole (CA)
Greg Goodrich (CA)
John Maxson (CA)
Rosanne Silberman (NY)
Diane Wormsley (NC)
Jim Deremeik, (MD) Past Chair

Questions?  Please contact Bob Brasher, Hall Curator, at 800/223-1839, ext. 369 or

 Thank you.

Hall of Fame: Leaders and Legends of the Blindness Field is a project of the entire field of blindness, curated by the American Printing House for the Blind, a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

New product: EZeeCount Abacus

 Image of EZeeCount Abacus

APH's EZeeCOUNT Abacus is specially designed with two-textured beads and a large frame to accommodate needs of students who are blind and visually impaired.
This abacus consists of a 10 x 10 grid of flat beads. The beads can be flipped and distinguished by color and/or texture. The red beads are wavy/rough and the yellow beads are smooth. Each row of beads slides along an elastic band from left to right. The reverse side is a dry-erase board.
The included instruction booklet provides examples of how the EZeeCOUNT Abacus can be used in a variety of ways.

• Counting
• Addition
• Subtraction
• Number Combinations
• Multiplication
• Fractions
• Patterns
• Graphs
• Place Value
• Games

Before using the EZeeCOUNT Abacus for any of the activities in the Instruction Booklet, allow the student to practice: 

• Flipping the beads from one side to the other.
• Recognizing and describing the texture difference between the beads.
• Sliding the beads from left to right while practicing abacus terminology. For example, when the beads are moved to the right side they are “set” and when they are moved to the left side they are “cleared.”
• Counting the number of rows and columns of beads.
WARNING: Choking Hazard -- Small Parts. Not intended for children ages 5 and under without adult supervision.
Age Range:
5 and Up

Monday, May 13, 2013

New Product: The Genetic Code in Large Print and Braille

1-08977-00 -- $15.00

The genetic code is the set of rules by which information encoded within genetic material (DNA or mRNA sequences) is translated into proteins (amino acid sequences) by living cells.

The genetic code consists of 64 three-letter "words" or "codons" that use a four-letter nucleotide alphabet: A, U, C, and G. Each three-letter codon is translated to one of 20 amino acids or a stop signal. For example, the codon AUG codes for the amino acid methionine, and the codon UUU codes for the amino acid phenylalanine. In this way, a sequence of DNA nucleotides is translated to a particular sequence of amino acids. During the translation process, amino acids are linked together to form proteins. Proteins are involved in cellular activities such as enzyme proteins needed for chemical reactions; structural proteins such as keratin and collagen found in hair, nails, and skin; hemoglobin in red blood cells needed for oxygen delivery to cells of the body; and antibodies that provide protection against disease.

These large print/braille sheets are embossed and printed on 11.5 x 11 inch 90# paper and contain four pages per set. Each set contains a separate page for nucleotide codons or triplets beginning with the letters A, U, C, and G, and the amino acids for which they code.

Recommended age: High school.

Thursday, May 09, 2013

Guidelines for Making PowerPoint Presentations Accessible to People with Low Vision

PowerPoint presentations are a staple of the business world, and are also popular in college and university classrooms. Have you ever viewed a PowerPoint presentation and thought, "I can barely read that text..."? For the millions of Americans with low vision, this occurs often. There are some simple, easy steps you can take to make your next PowerPoint presentation accessible to everyone in your audience. 

These guidelines were compiled by Elaine Kitchel, Low Vision Project Leader at APH. This material may not be duplicated or distributed without express written consent of APH.

In PowerPoint Presentations:
  1. Sans Serif fonts should always be used for text and for headings of more than one line. Good choices are APHont, Verdana, Tahoma, and Helvetica. Bold typefaces are preferred. (Note: If you create PowerPoint files using APHont, then transfer the files to another computer or media player which does not have APHont installed on it, APHont will not be visible on the slide show of the second computer.)
  2. Headings should be 32 pt. or larger.
  3. Sub headings should be 30 pt. or larger
  4. Text should be 28 pt. or larger if possible. Bold is better than standard text.
  5. Backgrounds should be simple, not graphical, and should usually be one color, preferably light pastel or white if black print is used. Two-color gradients are acceptable where one of the colors is white. Two color gradients are also acceptable where one is not white, if the colors are adjacent on the color wheel (e.g., yellow gradient with green). Gray should be avoided in either text or background on Power Point presentations.
  6. Text and background should be of high contrast. If the background is dark, the text should be very light in color. If the background is light, the text should be very dark in color. Some good color combinations for text and backgrounds are black and white, yellow and violet, yellow and dark blue, dark red and white, dark green and white, dark blue and white, black and yellow, and violet and white.
  7. Certain colors should not be used together: Red and green, red and black, dark green and black, or blue and black should not be used together as background and text, or as graphical features.
  8. Shades of gray should not be used together, either as graphical features, background, or text.
  9. Acceptable animation features include fly in from left, peek from left, typewriter, wipe right, and appear. Except for appear, animation features should always present text beginning on the left, as in normal reading style. Flying characters, spiraling design elements, or elements entering from bottom or right should be avoided unless they are used to denote directionality of movement of an element.
  10. Slides should be simple with no more than three different blocks of information on each or no more than seven individual lines of information total (this does not include the heading or title).
  11. Avoid putting information in columns if possible. Lines of text of 28-39 characters are preferred. Bulleted lists are an exception.
  12. Where bulleted lists occur side-by-side, text of one list should be a different color or on a different colored background than the other to prevent confusion.
  13. Avoid divided words at the ends of lines.
  14. Graphics used in a PowerPoint presentation should be of high-contrast and have good clarity. Black and white line drawings are preferred over gray scale graphics. Graphics that contain mainly bold areas of bright color are preferred over black and white. Patterned areas should be limited, if possible.
  15. Where maps or charts are included, color is preferred over gray scale. Text on maps or charts should adhere to large print guidelines.
  16. Avoid italics, if possible. Underscoring, enclosing in quotation marks or bolding is preferred.
  17. When making handouts from Power Point, two or fewer slides per page is preferred. Participants can be encouraged to make notes in margins if notes are needed.
Remember, what you do to make your presentation accessible for the low vision audience member will ultimately make it more readable for everyone.

Friday, May 03, 2013

APH News: May 2013

May 2013

Exciting New APH Products Announced!

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

ESAC Returns to APH!

Clockwise from front left: Jim Olson, Christine Hinton, Jim Durst, Julie Kagy, and Charlotte Lowry. 
The Educational Services Advisory Committee (ESAC) is charged with providing oversight and leadership in the planning, evaluation, and delivery of product-related services provided by the Act to Promote the Education of the Blind at APH, and on April 8-12, they did just that.

The committee, led by Chair Jim Olson (CO), met with APH staff to discuss topics including definitions and categories in the Student Registration System for Federal Quota, the APH website, the Tactile Graphic Image Library, federal funding and quota spending, and much, much more. Along with Jim, committee members Julie Kagy (NC), Charlotte Lowry (AL), Christine Hinton (NJ), and Jim Durst (IN) heard reports from Advisory Services departments, including Resource Services, Communications, and Field Services. They provided input on discussions about Annual Meeting, and building relationships with agencies that provide services to adult clients and those that provide services to infants and preschoolers.

The committee provided APH with a concise, comprehensive report before departing. The report contained commendations for our accomplishments over the last year, and, more importantly, excellent recommendations for projects, activities, and improvements for the upcoming year.
APH appreciates the dedication shown by ESAC members to take time away from their important work to assist us in support of our mission. Thanks, ESAC!

Summer 2013 will be Unforgettable!

This summer, capture a 5-minute APH product video while you are having fun with your friends at summer camp or as a summer school project. It can make you an instant APH Star.
Every entry in our Unforgettable APH Star contest is eligible to win up to $150.00 cash and will be entered into a random drawing for three $25.00 gift certificates. Entries must be received by September 17, 2013.

We already know you use APH products, so capture your best moments in a quick video and have an unforgettable summer!

For complete guidelines and submission form, go to:

Reminder: Typhlo & Tactus Tactile Book Contest 2013-Entries Due July 15

Once again APH is the U.S. national contact for the international biennial competition created to encourage improvement of the quality and quantity of tactile books for young children with visual impairments. Don’t miss the chance to submit your tactile book, designed for children with visual impairments from birth to 12 years of age. Visit for rules and deadlines.

APH’s Nearby Explorer Android App will be Found at the ACB Convention

APH’s Terrie Terlau is scheduled to demonstrate Nearby Explorer at the ACB Convention on Tuesday, July 9 from 5:45 to 7:00 p.m. She will have Nearby Explorer on an Android Phone, on the Braille Plus 18™, and also for APH Talking PC Maps.

Oldies but Goodies: The "Established" APH Product Series

IntelliKeys® IntelliTactiles® Overlay Companions IntelliTactiles Pre-Braille Concepts®
IntelliKeys® is an alternative keyboard designed to meet the needs of students with physical disabilities. It is a customizable, flat, touch-sensitive device that provides auditory feedback for overlays placed on the touch-sensitive surfaces. Unlike standard keyboards with a fixed set of keys, the configuration of IntelliKeys can be easily changed by sliding different overlays onto the touch sensitive area. The IntelliKeys keyboard, related software, and standard overlays are available exclusively from IntelliTools®. APH has developed overlays for the IntelliKeys keyboards designed specifically for users who are blind or visually impaired.

IntelliTactiles® USB Overlay Companions and the IntelliTactiles® Standard Overlay Companions align with the IntelliKeys keyboard's visual overlays developed by IntelliTools, making them accessible to braille readers. Each durable clear-plastic tactile overlay is designed to slip under the ledges of the IntelliKeys keyboard. The User’s Guide presents reduced visual images of the overlays and details notable features that make the print and tactile overlays different in any way, such as the incorporation of braille abbreviations or the use of special point symbols. A short introductory presentation about IntelliTactiles Standard Overlay Companions, along with other APH product presentations, can be found on the APH website at
IntelliTactiles Pre-Braille Concepts® includes seven tactile overlays that can be used with the IntelliKeys keyboard, or as stand-alone “worksheets” to develop young children’s tactile discrimination skills, shape recognition ability, and understanding of many spatial/positional concepts. Although these overlays would be beneficial to any child, the overlays are especially ideal for children with visual impairments and blindness. The User’s Guide for this product provides the quiz scripts recorded for each of the overlays to allow teachers/parents to use the overlays apart from the IntelliKeys keyboard.

You can access the complete set of User's Guides for these IntelliTactiles products from APH's downloadable products manual page at Downloads are available in both print (.pdf) and braille (.brf) file formats and are free of charge.

If you have any suggestions for other products you would like to see highlighted in this monthly feature, please send your comments to Monica Turner at

From the Field:

Miami Lighthouse and Carroll Center Collaborate on Braille Music Distance Learning Project

The Braille Music Distance Learning Curriculum, launching June 1, is a series of braille music lessons that will enable contracted braille readers to learn concepts of musical notation through 26 comprehensive lessons. Each lesson can be completed in 45 minutes. Students will submit their assignments for review online.

The teacher is Jin Ho Choi who serves as the Braille and Assistive Technology Distance Learning Instructor at the Miami Lighthouse. Jin, totally blind since age 19, is a prolific composer and author of this course.

For additional information, contact Virginia Jacko at 305/856-4176 or

Texas School Enjoys New Campus

The Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired celebrated the near-completion of its new campus on April 4. Superintendent Bill Daugherty shares that $110 million in state bond funds were used to pay for 30 new buildings that replaced those originally constructed in 1916 on the beautiful 40-acre campus. The APH exhibit Child in a Strange Country was featured in the campus tours to a crowd of about 300 friends of the school, including Dr. Natalie Barraga.

Around the House:

Vice President of Development Named

APH is pleased to welcome Bob Belknap as its new Vice President of Development. Bob has a strong and diverse background in fundraising, and comes to APH from USA Cares, a national non-profit organization that helps post 9/11 veterans and their families. Before that, he was a branch director for Big Brothers Big Sisters. Bob is a former Army officer and a graduate of Western Kentucky University.

APH President Tuck Tinsley said, “We conducted a national search and believe we have the right person for this challenging job. Bob is qualified, energetic, and has the experience APH needs to garner funding for future projects.”

Bob and his wife, Miriam, have two grown sons, Chris and Michael.

National Prison Braille Network (NPBN): Annual Forum News

Nearly half of the known prison braille programs in the U.S. were represented at the 2012 Forum. 
We are pleased to announce that the notes and handout materials from the 2012 National Prison Braille Forum are now posted on the APH website. Thanks to everyone who traveled to Louisville last October and made the Forum a very productive gathering! Here is a link to that information:

It’s not too soon to save the date for the 2013 Forum, which is scheduled for Wednesday, October 16. Once again, professionals from the fields of vision and corrections will come together to share information about prison braille programs – both the challenges and the success stories. If you would like to be added to a mail list to receive notices about future National Prison Braille Network activities such as the Forum, contact Becky Snider: or 502-899-2356.

NEW! Large Print Textbooks for Your eReader!

The Accessible Textbooks Department of APH now offers hundreds of large print textbooks for digital download! Hundreds of textbooks created using APH’s exclusive accessibility process are available for purchase through the File Repository of the Louis Database. Books are in PDF format and may be read on your Kindle®, iPad®, laptop, or many other digital readers. These accessible PDF files may also be read using synthetic speech on devices that do not have a screen, such as APH’s Book Port Plus™.

High Quality Large Print at a Substantial Savings

APH electronic large print textbooks feature the complete content of the original print edition, formatted for improved accessibility using APH’s proprietary in-house process. All textbooks use a minimum 18-pt. font, enlarged images, and a color palette designed for accessibility and clarity. The digital format provides greater portability and convenience for the user. Also, many of these digital editions now feature image descriptions.

Several subjects are available, including language arts, science, and social studies, from the nation’s best-known publishers. Search Louis for titles you need and download your textbooks today!


  • While APH is not taking orders specifically for the digital format, current large print textbook orders are being offered in print and digital file form.
  • One copy of each desired large print file must be purchased for each student user.
  • APH electronic large print textbooks are intended for use on an eReader only; they cannot be printed.
The electronic large print books are available using quota funds, and are available only to students served by the quota system. The billing process is the same as for all other repository downloads; a monthly bill/statement is sent out from the Finance Department.

To transfer files to the student’s device, consider looking into the free program/app Dropbox. You can load the program onto your PC or Mac, and then put the Dropbox app on the student’s device. You can then quickly transfer files from your computer to the student’s. Or there is the option to send a link to the student, and he/she can download the file by clicking on the link and accessing the Dropbox website. Here is the link to their website, so you can investigate it further:

NEW! Building on Patterns (BOP) Kindergarten and the Common Core State Standards

Recently posted on the Research page of the APH website is a reference document with the Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts and information on where they are addressed in the BOP Kindergarten curriculum. BOP lesson numbers are listed next to the standard when a particular lesson addresses that standard.

Information about the BOP First Grade and Second Grade curricula will be added over the next few months.

The document is available in HTML and Excel (.xlsx) formats. Follow this link to Research Resources: or visit the APH homepage and click the Research Resources link, then select either the HTML or Excel link following the heading BOP Kindergarten and the Common Core State Standards

APH’s Jan Carroll Tapped as NBA President—Staffers Attend Conference and Participate

Gary Mudd, Bill Beavin, President Jan Carroll, Cathy Senft-Graves, DeAnna Morrison, Jayma Hawkins 
APH Vice President Gary Mudd along with staff members Jan Carroll, Cathy Senft-Graves, DeAnna Morrison, and Jayma Hawkins attended the Spring 2013 National Braille Association (NBA) Professional Development Conference in Gaithersburg, MD, April 18-20. The conferences of the NBA are held twice each year and are attended by braille transcribers, teachers of the visually impaired, paraprofessionals, and administrators of braille programs.

Sessions provide instruction on the preparation of braille materials according to the Braille Authority of North America (BANA) rules and guidelines and other information. The topics for this conference’s sessions included braille transcription software, chemistry, formatting, math, music, tactile graphics, and more.

APH Vice President Bill Beavin also attended the banquet on April 19 where Jan Carroll was installed as the President of NBA for 2013-2015. The next NBA conference will be held October 24-26 in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Becomes First Publisher to Reach 10,000 NIMAS files in the NIMAC!

In its 7th year of operations, the National Instructional Materials Access Center (NIMAC) now has 35,000 NIMAS file sets available. These files, which we receive from over 100 publishers, are used by APH and others across the U.S. (and its outlying areas) to produce accessible educational materials needed by students in the classroom. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH) has reached a milestone as the first participating publisher to reach 10,000 file submissions to the NIMAC! The NIMAC extends its congratulations to HMH for this accomplishment and sincere appreciation for its ongoing commitment to serve students with print disabilities.

University of Arizona Loves APH!

As part of APH’s Collaborative Instructional Partnership (CIP) Program, on April 6 and April 9, Field Services Representative Kerry Isham presented to two very enthusiastic University of Arizona classes in Phoenix and Tucson. These events were initiated by Dr. Irene Topor, Associate Professor of Practice, and Coordinator in the Department of Education. Each presentation began with an overview of APH, our products and our services. Following that was a discussion of APH products for the core curriculum and the expanded core curriculum. Then everyone enjoyed some hands-on time with products (including Tactile Town, Picture Maker, Giant Textured Beads with Pattern Matching Cards, and the VisioBook) while participating in a group exercise, after which the students’ knowledge of APH products was tested in a spirited game of “Are You Smarter than an APH Field Services Representative?” Lots of fun and learning took place on those days as the dedicated university students eagerly listened, asked questions, and tried out products.

Getting a Feel for Tactile Graphics in Baltimore

Karen Poppe, Fred Otto, Steve Mullins, Adam Clark, Yan Zhang and Kerry Isham represented APH at the National Federation of the Blind Tactile Graphics Conference held in Baltimore on April 12 and 13. The conference drew approximately 150 international attendees, many of whom made it a point to stop by the APH booth to try out products such as The Best for a Nest, Tactile Town, Little Breath of Wind, The DRAFTSMAN, Sudoku Partner 6X6, Tactile Tangrams, and World at Your Fingers. Karen, Fred, Steve, Adam, and Yan all presented at sessions and Kerry exhibited products at this exciting event, where individuals explored a wide range of topics related to the creation and use of tactile products for persons who are blind/visually impaired.

Vanderbilt Students Visit APH

APH was pleased to welcome Dr. Karen Blankenship and nine students from Vanderbilt University on April 12. The students, all in training to become teachers of students with visual impairments, spent the day learning about APH. They were treated to a short history of APH from Museum Director Mike Hudson, toured the production plant, visited the Museum and the Hall of Fame, heard presentations from several APH staff members, and viewed demonstrations of the APH website and the Tactile Graphics Image Library. A highlight of the day was a number of product demonstrations from APH Research Department Project Leaders.
We welcome these future leaders to our field, and hope they’ll be fans of APH for life!

Treasures From the APH Libraries

The APH Barr Library supports research initiatives at APH, while the Migel Library is one of the largest collections of nonmedical information related to blindness in the world. Although the collections do not circulate, arrangements can be made to use the materials on-site. In addition, an ongoing digitization effort means APH will continue to make materials available through the online catalog at
Two of the many "Treasures from the APH Libraries" are described below.

From the Migel Library: Koestler, Frances A. The Unseen Minority: A Social History of Blindness in America. New York: AFB, 2004.

Originally published in 1976 for the 50th anniversary of the American Foundation for the Blind (AFB), The Unseen Minority is a detailed and comprehensive history of the issues, individuals, and organizations involved with blindness in the United States. As the first book to be awarded the C. Warren Bledsoe Award from the American Association of Workers for the Blind, this 658-page classic builds a broader, inclusive history around the story of AFB. It is a definitive work that brings together an account that is not collectively available elsewhere. Not only is a history of M.C. Migel presented, for example, but also a history of the M.C. Migel Library in which this copy of the book is held. This reissued edition also includes an outline of recent issues and a collection of historical chronologies.

From the Barr Library: Vadasy, Patricia F. and J. Ron Nelson. Vocabulary Instruction for Struggling Students: What Works for Special-Needs Learners. New York: Guilford Press, 2012.

With the goal of equipping educators with pragmatic methods for fostering the growth of at-risk learners’ reading, writing, and speaking skills, the authors explore the body of cross-disciplinary research on vocabulary learning and instruction. Concepts such as morphology and collocations ground a subsequent analysis of the effectiveness of popular word lists, which are relied upon in the teaching of high frequency, root, and academic words. The book culminates into an evaluation of the most commonly accepted pedagogical techniques for teaching vocabulary, from as early as preschool and extending into middle school and adulthood. Ultimately, Vadasy and Nelson concede that there are still some areas that demand more understanding, such as unconventional forms of vocabulary assessment, along with the most effective ways to teach and retain students who are not native English speakers.

APH is working with the Lyrasis Consortium and Internet Archive to digitize portions of the M.C. Migel Library. Search the phrase “full text” to find these items at The digitized texts are available in a variety of formats, including DAISY, Kindle, EPUB, PDF, etc.
Contact Library staff:, 800-223-1839, ext. 705

More New Braille Plus 18 Videos Added!

We’ve added links to more new videos created by talented student Chase Crispin and his teacher LeAnna MacDonald. Visit our products video page to view these videos, which cover hooking up the Braille Plus 18 to a TV and updating its software.

Check Out Book Port DT!

Have you considered APH’s Book Port DT Digital Talking Book Player/Recorder? This desktop unit is really two Talking Book players in one:
  • Simple: If you want an easy-to-use playback device with a large, great sounding speaker, just use the Book Port DT with the included removable mask that simplifies the controls. Plays standard NLS Digital Talking Book Cartridges.
  • Sophisticated: Want to listen to podcasts or internet radio, make your own recordings, or read computer files? You can do all of this and more with the Book Port DT!
Learn about the Book Port DT today! Scroll down the shopping page to watch a video about Book Port DT created by one of our talented users.
Book Port DT: simple OR sophisticated, it’s up to you!

Social Media Spotlight

In 2003, Alaskan Dan Bigley was returning from fishing when he was brutally mauled by a bear, an attack which left him totally blind. He recently wrote a fantastic book detailing his recovery and adjustment to blindness. Beyond the Bear: How I Learned to Live and Love Again After Being Blinded by a Bear is a story of the power of love and one man's unbelievable determination to live a full life. Read our book review:

Milestone Achieved!

This month, we reached 1 million all-time pageviews on Fred's Head, our blog. Thank you for your support and keep on reading!

"Like" APH at Our Facebook Page!

We invite you to visit our Facebook page and "Like" us! You can find APH at these social media sites: Twitter, YouTube, Flickr, and at our blog, Fred's Head from APH.

APH Welcomes New Ex Officio Trustees

Faanati Penitusi, the American Samoa Department of Education, replacing Peter Tinitali.
Lisa Kisiel, the Michigan Commission for the Blind Training Center, replacing Christine Boone.
Kristine Takekawa, the Hawaii Department of Education and the Hawaii center for the Deaf and the Blind, replacing Steven Shiraki.
Jackie Brennan, the Overbrook School for the Blind, replacing Gerald Kitzhoffer.
Luz E. Robles Bermudez, the Puerto Rico Department of Education, replacing Maria Cruz Davila.

APH Travel Calendar

on the road with APH


May 7-8-2013
APH Hands-On Product Presentation;
California State University LA; Anaheim County Schools; LAUSD
May 8-10, 2013
NIP Event: CVI with Chris Roman at Dakota AER;
Grand Forks, ND
May 13, 2013
New Hampshire TVI Training: Braille Plus 18 and Refreshabraille 18;
Concord, NH
May 13-16, 2013
Kentucky Rehabilitation Association/Southwest Region National Rehabilitation Association(KRA/SERNA);
Louisville, KY


June 4, 2013
NIP: APH Intervention Continuum with Millie Smith;
June 6-9, 2013
Family Cafe;
Orlando, FL
June 8, 2013
KSB Alumni Event;
Louisville, KY
June 11-13, 2013
Texas AT Network Conference;
Houston, TX
June 14-15, 2013
DE Deaf/Blind Program SAM Workshop;
Rehoboth Beach, DE
June 27-30, 2013
Visions 2013;
Baltimore, MD


July 1-6, 2013
NFB 2013;
Orlando, FL
July 4-12, 2013
ACB 2013;
Columbus, OH
July 14-17, 2013
OSEP Directors Project Conference;
Washington, DC
July 24-25, 2013
NIP: APH Intervention Continuum (SLK, TC, & SAM) with Millie Smith;
Raleigh, NC
July 25-28, 2013
CHARGE Syndrome, 11th International;
Scottsdale, AZ


August 2-4, 2013
West Virginia AER 2013; Terra Alta, WV
August 8, 2013
NIP Event - APH Communication Continuum: SLK, SAM and TC with Millie Smith;
Clarksville, TN
August 9, 2013
NIP Event – APH Communication Continuum: SAM with Millie Smith;
Nashville, TN
August 12, 2013
Advisory Commission on Textbook Specifications (ACTS);
Austin, TX
August 22-23, 2013
NIP Event: Woodcock-Johnson III – Tests of Achievement-Braille Adaptation/Training on Administering and Scoring with Lynne Jaffe;
Ann Arbor, MI
August 27-29, 2013
NIP Event: Math Workshop with Susan Osterhaus;
Grand Rapids, MI


September 19-21, 2013
Envisions 2013 Conference;
Minneapolis, MN
September 27, 2013
Human Development Institute: APH Products, Services, and Accessibility Workshop;
Lexington, KY

APH Spring Fever Sale

Load up a world of savings on selected APH products with APH's Spring Fever Sale 2013, April 1—June 30. As always, first come, first served.

APH Has Discontinued Repair of the Table-Top Cassette Tape Recorder

Effective April 1, 2013 APH is no longer repairing our Table-Top Cassette Tape Recorder/Player due to the lack of parts availability. We appreciate your understanding.

New Downloadable Manuals Available

Get the manual you need instantly! APH offers a selected list of product manuals available for free download ( You may print or emboss these as needed. We will continue to package hard copies of these manuals with their products and sell hard copy replacements.
Newly added manuals:
  • Tactile Treasures [modernized version, see below] (1-08842-01)
Note: the manuals for the older (discontinued) version of Tactile Treasures remain available on the downloads page.

REVISED! Tactile Treasures Tactile/Color Edition (Complete Kit)

1-08842-01 -- $359.00

Optional Item

Teacher's Guidebook, Braille: 61-151-313 -- $21.30

Replacement Item

Teacher's Guidebook, Large Print (with CD-ROM): 61-151-312 -- $17.15
Now a Tactile/Color Edition with more durable pages!

Tactile Treasures Tactile/Color Edition is an informal assessment and teaching tool for use with children from preschool through elementary grades. It helps students develop an early understanding of basic concepts and vocabulary that are prerequisites for reading and math. By pairing tactile graphics of thermoformed real objects with included descriptive scripts/stories, over 90 concepts related to shape, size, comparison of two or more objects, amount, position, and page orientation can be introduced and reinforced.


Tactile Treasures consists of 79 colorful thermoformed sheets featuring tactile pictures created from real objects that illustrate math and language concepts. The types of thermoformed objects are numerous—from pretzels, buttons, and rings to zippers, scissors, and shells. The variety of objects depicted adds interest, encourages exploration, and helps broaden vocabulary.

In most cases, a given concept is presented twice on a single tactile page that is divided by a raised bar, but occasionally an entire page is used to adequately convey a concept. An accompanying teacher’s guidebook provides two suggested scripts or stories for every concept introduced.

Tactile Treasures Tactile/Color Edition Kit Includes

  • Three individual binders housing a total of 79 colorful thermoformed sheets measuring 8 1/2 x 11 inches. Both braille and incised print page numbers appear on each sheet.
  • Large Print Teacher's guidebook with scripts/stories for each concept and a general overview of the materials, instructions for use, extended activities, and a Checklist of Concepts.
  • CD-ROM containing accessible files of the Guidebook and Checklist of Concepts.
Recommended ages: 3 years and up.

Note: Large Print guidebook is included. Braille guidebook available separately.

NEW! Genetic Code Large Print Braille

1-08977-00 -- $15.00
The genetic code is the set of rules by which information encoded within genetic material (DNA or mRNA sequences) is translated into proteins (amino acid sequences) by living cells.

The genetic code consists of 64 three-letter "words" or "codons" that use a four-letter nucleotide alphabet: A, U, C, and G. Each three-letter codon is translated to one of 20 amino acids or a stop signal. For example, the codon AUG codes for the amino acid methionine, and the codon UUU codes for the amino acid phenylalanine. In this way, a sequence of DNA nucleotides is translated to a particular sequence of amino acids. During the translation process, amino acids are linked together to form proteins. Proteins are involved in cellular activities such as enzyme proteins needed for chemical reactions; structural proteins such as keratin and collagen found in hair, nails, and skin; hemoglobin in red blood cells needed for oxygen delivery to cells of the body; and antibodies that provide protection against disease.

These large print/braille sheets are embossed and printed on 11.5 x 11 inch 90# paper and contain four pages per set. Each set contains a separate page for nucleotide codons or triplets beginning with the letters A, U, C, and G, and the amino acids for which they code.

Recommended age: High school.

EZeeCOUNT Abacus Now Available on Shopping Site!

1-03185-00 -- $56.00
Optional: EZeeCOUNT Abacus Guidebook, Braille: 5-03185-00 -- $15.00
Replacement: EZeeCOUNT Abacus Guidebook, Print: 7-03185-00 -- $9.00
In the April APH News we announced the new APH EZeeCOUNT Abacus, specially designed with two textured beads (smooth & rough/wavy) and a large frame to accommodate the needs of students who are blind and visually impaired. This abacus is now available for purchase through the APH shopping site.

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

NEW! APH InSights Calendar 2014

Single Copy: 5-18971-14 -- $7.00
APH InSights Custom Calendar 2014: Call Customer Service
Twelve month large print/braille calendar features the artwork of visually impaired artists. Includes months, days, holidays, and moon phases. Use at a desk or hang on a wall. Pages fold over easily.

Makes a Great Fund-Rasier

Art calendars can be purchased in quantities at a special price for fund-raising projects. Your group's name can be printed and brailled on a special version of the cover. Fund-raising questions and orders should be directed to APH's Contract Administration Office, 1-800-223-1839.
Recommended ages: 4 years and up.
Note: The APH InSights Calendar MAY be purchased with Federal Quota Funds; however, quantity purchases of this calendar for fund-raising purposes MAY NOT be purchased with Quota funds.

APH Braille Book Corner

APH offers a number of recreational books in braille (Quota funds can be used). Each of these titles was originally transcribed and produced by APH for the National Library Service which has graciously granted permission for this offering. As usual, these titles have been added to the APH Louis Database where you can find thousands of titles produced in accessible formats.
Note: all books are produced upon receipt of orders, therefore, please allow several weeks for delivery.

Deadliest Animals
by Melissa Stewart: T-N1938-20 -- $10.50
Compares the dangers posed by more than twenty animals -- both large, such as polar bears, saltwater crocodiles, hippopotamuses, elephants, cape buffaloes, and sharks; and small, including scorpions and certain types of snakes and fish. Readers might be surprised to learn which species is the deadliest of all. Grades 2-4. *(AR Quiz No. 141795, BL 5.3 Pts. 0.5)

Warp Speed
by Lisa Yee: T-N1938-10 -- $60.00
Marley Sandelski has always felt invisible at school when he is not facing bullies, but a series of unexpected events gives him a taste of popularity and insights into some classmates, well-liked or greatly feared. The plot contains violence. Grades 4-8. *(AR Quiz No. 142709, BL 4.0, Pts. 8.0)

Losing Our Cool: Uncomfortable Truths about our Air-Conditioned World
by Stan Cox: T-N1919-40 -- $100.50
The author argues that by reintroducing traditional cooling methods as well as putting newer technologies into practice -- and by moving past industrial definitions of comfort -- we can make ourselves comfortable and keep the planet comfortable, too.

The First Husband
by Laura Dave: T-N1937-90 -- $62.50
Los Angeles travel writer Annie impulsively marries chef Griffin three months after her live-in boyfriend Nick breaks up with her. The newlyweds move back to Griffin’s Massachusetts hometown, where he opens his own restaurant, but Annie has trouble adjusting. Then Nick arrives, wanting to marry her.

A Match Made in Hell
by Terri Garey : T-N1919-90 -- $92.50
Vintage-clothing store owner Nicki Styx faces a new ghost who holds the key to family secrets. Soon Nicki struggles with her sister and mother, her boyfriend's wife, and the arrival of a charismatic devil. Some adult content.

*Accelerated Reader quiz number, book level, and point value. For more information on the Accelerated Reader program, see the January 2006 APH News or

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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.

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