Fred’s Head from APH, a Blindness Blog

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

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Wednesday, December 18, 2013

White Cane Laws in the United States

Woman walking with white caneMost people probably don't realize that there are laws regarding white canes and pedestrians who are blind in the United States. And these laws vary by state.

The American Council of the Blind (ACB) has compiled a detailed description of white cane safety laws in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. This website also includes the penalties for breaking the law as well as links to the state statutes.

On October 15 each year, we hold National White Cane Safety Day, a day of awareness-raising and advocacy. Events are held throughout the country to teach the community about the safety and rights of pedestrians who are blind.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

UPDATED! Oldies but Goodies: "Established" APH Products

by Monica Turner
As a Field Services Representative, one of my responsibilities is to go to conferences and exhibit APH products. Oftentimes I will display many of the new and exciting products that we have to offer in order to provide consumers an opportunity to see the items firsthand before making the decision to purchase them. While it is wonderful that APH has been producing so many new products over the past several years, I find that I'm not often able to take along as many of the wonderful, older products that we still have available. We give you information about our new products each month as they are released, and we have been thinking that it might be beneficial to also go back and revisit some of the "oldies but goodies." We hope you agree and we welcome any suggestions you may have about products that you would like to see highlighted.

Please send your comments and suggestions to Monica Turner at

More "oldies but goodies" added to our growing list!

Friday, December 06, 2013

APH News: December 2013

Cranmer Abacus
The December issue of the APH News is now online! Check it out for:
  • Seeking Field Evaluators
  • The 155-Year APH Technological Journey
  • The Apollo Brailler from Japan
  • 2014 Hall of Fame Nominations Now Being Accepted
  • Treasures from the APH Libraries
  • Oldies but Goodies: The "Established" APH Product Series
  • Social Media Spotlight
  • APH Travel Calendar
  • New Products from APH
  • The Braille Book Corner and much, much more…

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Resources for Accessible Nutrition Education

The holidays are upon us; a time for friends, family, good cheer, and unfortunately for some, bad nutritional habits. With all the shopping to get done and parties to attend, who has time to make good, nutritional choices, let alone teach proper nutrition? Well, APH may be able to assist you with some free tactile graphics and online resources to get you started.
Photo from

In 2011, as part of Michelle Obama’s campaign against childhood obesity, MyPlate was introduced as a simplified replacement for the government’s food pyramid. In response, APH has added several MyPlate tactile graphics to the Tactile Graphics Image Library (TGIL), available for free download at

Tactile graphic of myplate

Before you start clicking on all the great links below, we want to take a moment to remind teachers and parents why nutrition is such an important topic. According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), obesity prevalence among children and adolescents has almost tripled since 1980[i]. In 2010, more than one third of children and adolescents were overweight or obese[ii]. (That’s 1 in 3 children in the U.S.!) 

Good nutrition and physical fitness are even more important to children with visual impairments. The need for fitness in children who are blind might be greater because of the increased energy required to complete activities of daily living[iii].Children who are visually impaired consistently exhibited lower levels of fitness than their sighted peers[iv]

The good news is that developing healthy lifestyle habits early, including good nutrition and exercise, can lower the risk of becoming obese and developing related diseases such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

The CDC also maintains that schools play a particularly critical role by providing opportunities for students to learn about and practice healthy eating and physical activity behaviors[v]

So, take advantage of the free MyPlate tactile graphics in APH’s TGIL and print some off for the kids to take home over the holidays. Also, check out some of the online resources listed below for additional information, games, and activities to use in classrooms and at home.

Additional Resources

Choose MyPlate

Serving Up MyPlate: A Yummy Curriculum

Smart Nutrition 101

Let’s Move Initiative
Fitness for Individuals Who Are Visually Impaired or Deafblind

CDC Childhood Obesity and Nutrition Facts

[i] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2013). Overweight and Obesity. Data and Statistics: Obesity rates among all children in the Untied States.
[ii] Ogden CL, Carroll MD, Kit BK, Flegal KM. Prevalence of obesity and trends in body mass index among US children and adolescents, 1999-2010. Journal of the American Medical Association2012;307(5):483-490.
[iii] Buell, C. E. (1982). Physical education and recreation for the visually handicapped. Reston, VA: American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation, & Dance.
[iv] Blessing, D. L., McCrimmon, D., Stovall, J., & Williford, H. N. (1993). The effects of regular exercise programs for visually impaired and sighted schoolchildren. Journal of Visual Impairment & Blindness, 87, 50-52.
Lieberman, L. J., & McHugh, B. E. (2001). Health related fitness of children with visual impairments and blindness. Journal of Visual Impairment & Blindness, 95(5), 272-286.
Skaggs, S., & Hopper, C. (1996). Individuals with visual impairments: A review of psychomotor behavior. Adapted Physical Activity Quarterly, 13(1), 16-26.
Winnick, J. P., & Short F. X. (1985). Physical fitness testing of the disabled. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.
Winnick, J. P., & Short, F. X. (1999). The Brockport physical fitness test. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.
[v] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2013). Adolescent and School Health. Childhood Obesity Facts: Prevention.

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

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

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

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