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Showing posts from 2016

Throwback Thursday Object: Early Large Type Book

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Early Large Type Book
Our object this week continues our December holiday theme.  Hall of Famer Robert Irwin started his career leading classes for blind students in the Cleveland public schools in 1909.  One of his many innovations was the creation of “conservation of vision” classes around 1913 for low vision students.  These later became known as “sight-saving” classrooms and to facilitate his work, Irwin founded a publishing company to print the large type books his students would need.  Our object is one of Irwin’s books from the Cleveland Clear Type Publishing Committee, “The First Christmas Tree,” from 1926.  It was printed in a 30 point san serif font, with no illustrations.  It is bound in a simple green linen.  The story, by American religious writer Henry Van Dyke, revolves around a trip by the Christian missionary St. Boniface in the 8th century A.D. to tribes in Germany.  Let’s just say that Marvel’s super hero Thor is the bad guy and leave it at that.  But my favorite pa…

Throwback Thursday Object: Hellen Keller Describes One Christmas As a Student at a School for the Blind

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Our object this week continues our celebration here at APH of the holiday season.  In the December 1906 issue of Ladies' Home Journal,  author and activist Helen Keller describes the Christmas holidays as experienced by herself and other blind students at the Perkins Institution for the Blind in the late 19th century.  Enjoy!

*The Ladies' Home Journal, December, 1906


Christmas in the Dark, by Helen Keller

When I was a little girl I spent the Christmas holidays one year at the Perkins Institution for the Blind. Some of the children, whose homes were far away, or who had no homes, had remained at the school. I have never known a merrier Christmas than that.
I hear some one ask: "What pleasure can Christmas hold for children who cannot see their gifts or the sparkling tree or the ruddy smile of Santa Claus? "The question would be answered if you had seen that Christmas of the blind children. The only real blind person at Christmas-time is he who has not Christmas in his hea…

Quick Tip: Outtakes from the Cutting Room Floor. For our last Quick Tip of 2016, have a laugh with us as we enjoy some Quick Tips outtakes!

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Get Information for and About Children Who Are Blind from Paths to Literacy

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In this post, we wish to share a comprehensive online resource called Paths to Literacy that provides a wide range of information for and about children and youth who are blind, deafblind, or have multiple disabilities. Besides general information about Paths to Literacy, we also will share a specific post to their blog written by an APH employee.
What Is Paths to Literacy?
We received the following description of Paths to Literacy from one of its main contributors:
Paths to Literacy http://www.pathstoliteracy.org/ is an online Community of Practice, devoted to literacy for children and youth who are blind or visually impaired, including those with deafblindness or multiple disabilities.A collaboration between Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired and Perkins School for the Blind, the site offers lesson ideas, resources, tech updates, and more.The emphasis is on practical ideas that can be used in the classroom, home or community.Topics range widely, from braille drawing to UE…

Throwback Thursday Object: APH Employees Standing behind an Unusually Unique Ornament

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In honor of the holiday season, our object this week comes from the photograph collection of long time APH employee Jim Hill.  Jim was an amateur photographer and he loved APH and all of its various characters.  Before he retired a few years ago, Jim donated his huge collection of snapshots of his coworkers and we are still going through it.  This photograph features four women standing with big smiles on their faces behind an impossibly ludicrous table ornament that looks straight out of “How the Grinch Stole Christmas.”  It is constructed of six or seven striped orange boxes of gradually decreasing diameter, topped by an orange cone and a glass tree topper.  The whole confection is wrapped with a string of electric lights and tinsel garland trimmed with tiny glass balls.  It towers over the four women.  Betty Cook, a receptionist, stands on the far left next to office manager Jane Kent, another unidentified lady is partially obscured behind the table decoration—maybe she is hiding?—…

Quick Tip: Holiday Gift Ideas for Picky People. APH wants to help you get just the right thing for those hard-to-buy-for types on your list!

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The Sero App: Available for Your Listening Pleasure

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One can find a plethora of apps and websites that broadcast music, sports, and talk shows. Many are excellent resources providing seemingly endless entertainment. As good as these services are, they, with just a few exceptions, fail to include audio with a special interest to or created by people who are blind and visually impaired. One app seeks to change that.

Sero
Sero, formerly iBlink Radio, contains several types of information and resources especially tailored to people who are blind or anyone who wishes to know more about blindness issues and concerns. The app, developed by the assistive technology company called Serotek Corporation, offers both free content and paid/premium content.
History
Thanks to Serotek’s technical support, here is a brief history of Sero:
The iBlink Radio app was first published to the iOS App Store in the fall of 2009. We released the first Android version in the spring of 2011. In 2012, we extended the iOS version with access to the paid subscription servic…

Quick Tip: Early Childhood Gift Recommendations. Baby, it's cold outside! Speaking of babies, here are some great gift recommendations for babies and young children in your life.

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December 2016 APH News

APH News
 is your monthly link to the latest information on the products, services, field tests, and training opportunities from the American Printing House for the Blind. 
A Few of This Month’s Headlines:
Annual Meeting 2016 Photo Memory Photo AlbumNew Products: TADPOLE Interactive ImagesField Tests and Surveys, including Interactive U.S. MapOn the Road at New York State School for the BlindTreasure from the Migel: Hall of Fame Living Legends VideoSocial Media Spotlight: Throwback Thursday from the APH MuseumQuick Tips Corner: Some Favorite VideosAPH Travel Calendar and more…http://www.aph.org/news

iDentifi: Object Recognition for Visually Impaired

Apps used to recognize objects and/or read text for people who are blind and visually impaired have increased in number. We have discussed TapTapSee recently, an others exist as well.
This post details iDentifi, a new free app that attempts to describe objects and read text for people who are blind and visually impaired.
What is iDentifi?
Anmol Tuckrel, a high school student from Toronto, Canada, began work on the app about a year ago. According to a TechCrunch article, Tuckrel was fascinated by the possibilities of machine learning and computer vision. The app uses Google Vision, CloudSight and Google Translate, all trusted resources that can distinguish objects easily. These facts indicate that iDentifi uses artificial intelligence to identify objects whereas apps like TapTapSee use crowdsourcing.
Using the App
Before attempting to use the app, please note that you must be connected to the internet to use it. The app’s layout is quite easy to comprehend. Its initial screen contains four …

Throwback Thursday Object: Tactile Picture of a Turkey

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To celebrate Thanksgiving and the subsequent holidays, this week, our throwback object comes from our excellent collection of nineteenth century tactile prints by Martin Kunz (1847-1923).  Kunz was a pioneer creator of mass-produced tactile graphics, operating out of the print shop at the Blind Institute in Illzach, Germany.  He also published influential tactile science illustrations and maps that were used in schools for the blind across Europe and the United States.  His pictures were embossed in wooden molds and—as this one is--reinforced with varnish and plaster.  The second picture shows the Illzach printing operation with the heavy iron press and molds stored on racks.   Our glorious turkey— meleagris gallopavo—is joined on the print by fellow ground birds grouse, partridge, and guinea hen.   There are print captions in French, Italian, German, and English.  The braille captions are in German Braille.
Micheal A. Hudson
Museum Director
American Printing House for the Blind

Quick Tip: Board Game Gift Ideas!

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Quick Tip: Holiday Gift Recommendations for Professionals. Find the perfect Holiday gift at APH, for professionals and students in your life!

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Solving Those Frustrating CAPTCHAs

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The Problem
Creating an account on many websites, something that should be simple for anyone to do, often is burdensome for someone with blindness and visual impairment because the final step often includes the solving of a CAPTCHA. Having sighted assistance may not be a viable option, and even when it is, someone who is blind should be able to complete this task without it. In this post, we will define the term “CAPTCHA”, describe why one is used, and offer some solutions that individuals who are blind and visually impaired may use to solve them independently.
What is a CAPTCHA?
If you’ve spent any time online, you’ve encountered a CAPTCHA. The official CAPTCHA Site explains the tool. It is used to tell humans and bots apart. A CAPTCHA is a program that generates a test which humans can pass and current computer programs cannot. The term CAPTCHA stands for Completely Automated Public Touring Test to Tell Computers and Humans Apart. It was coined in 2000 by four individuals from Carnegie…

Throwback Thursday Object: Morrison "Perfection" Wire Stitching Machine

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I apologize for the quality of the photograph of our object this week, but the stitcher is on exhibit in our basement and the lighting there is poor.  I hope the story makes up for the bad image.    A wire stitching machine was used in the APH bindery to staple the spines of braille magazines, sheet music, and pamphlets.  The machine feeds wire from a spool, cuts it, forms a staple, drives it, and folds over the points.  An operator used foot pedals to control the action.  Similar machines are still in use at APH every day although we also use an automatic stitcher/folder line too.  We acquired our first wire stitcher around 1902 and purchased our first "Perfection" model in 1910, but we bought this one used.  The Illinois Braille and Sightsaving School, now the Illinois School for the Visually Impaired, was a major producer of braille music scores before it closed its print shop in the summer of 1963.  Most of the machinery in the shop was bought by APH and brought to Louis…

Quick Tip: Using the EZeeCOUNT Abacus to Make a 10X10 Array. Here's how to use the EZeeCount Abacus as a 10 by 10 array to illustrate multiplication tables!

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November, 2016 APH News

**This Month’s Headlines:
You Can Test BrailleBlaster BetaNew ProductsGive Us Your Feedback on Teacher's Pet Software!Talking Typer for iOS: Field Testers Needed!APH Is Looking for Your Input on Audiojack!Touch, Label, and Learn Poster: Human Skeleton SurveyShare Your Creativity with Carousel of Textures!A Bold, Strong Annual MeetingFirst-Ever APH/AER Rehabilitation Institute16th Annual National Prison Braille ForumAPH Partners on a Landmark Book ProjectTyphlo & Tactus Tactile Book Contest 2017Compilation of National Listserv of State Vision ConsultantsFind a Winter Sports Camp!Tactile Art Products and MaterialsTogether with Braille TalesAPH Travel Calendar and much, much more… //www.aph.org/news

Throwback Thursday Object: APH Variable Speech Control Module

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For readers of audio books, especially folks reading technical or reference material prior to the age of computer indexing, you often wanted to scan through material quickly to find the passage you needed.  Talking book machines for blind and visually impaired readers started to include such features almost from the very beginning.  But the first such controls were simple, speeding up the phonograph.  Most kids of my era know how entertaining it could be to play a 33 rpm record at 45.  It speeded it up, yes, but the singer sounded like one of Santa’s elves.  Sound guys called that “chipmunk distortion.”  Later machines that appeared in the 1970s included a component that adjusted the pitch as you increased the speed, and kept the speaker’s voice sounding relatively normal.  But if you couldn’t afford to buy a new player, you could get our Object of the Week, the APH Variable Speech Control Module.  It was basically a phonograph accessory allowing recorded speech to be increased or dec…

Quick Tip: Louis Plus. Emmy Malinovsky, APHSpecial Collections Librarian, discusses some of the advantages of using the Louis Plus database to locate accessible materials.

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Throwback Thursday Object: A Tactile Puzzle from England

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Our object this week comes from England.  It is a colorful 31-piece puzzle of a galleon, a type of large sailing ship in use from the 15th through 17th centuries, in full sail.  It is made from plywood with a paper illustration glued to the top.  The ship itself is raised higher than the background pieces.   The Royal National Institute for the Blind(RNIB) was founded in 1868 as the British and Foreign Blind Association for Promoting the Education and Employment of the Blind.  Its name changed to the National Institute for the Blind(NIB) in 1914, and to RNIB in 1953.  In 1920, the NIB expanded its mandate to include the production and sale of  "Apparatus for Use by the Blind" and produced its first catalog soon after.   It introduced its first tactile puzzles around 1927.

Micheal A. Hudson
Museum Director
American Printing House for the Blind

Quick Tip: Teaching Street Crossing. Teaching Street Crossing to Students with Visual Impairments addresses gaining street-crossing competency against the backdrop of three different theories of learning—skills-based, behavioral, and Piagetian.

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Throwback Thursday Object: Morrison Heady and his "Talking Glove"

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I can’t believe it has taken me this long to blog about today’s object of the week.  It comes from one of my favorite Kentuckians, Morrison Heady (1829-1915).  He called it his “Talking Glove.”  It is a basic man’s leather glove—there was a day when a gentleman would not leave the house without his hat and gloves—with the twenty-six letters of the alphabet stenciled in black ink across the inner surfaces of the palms and fingers.
Heady lost his vision in separate accidents as a boy in Spencer County, Kentucky and his hearing at age 40 after a fall from a horse.  Inventor, author, and teacher, known as the "Blind Bard of Kentucky," Heady invented this method to continue communicating.  Although Heady invented it independently, it had been known for centuries following the work of George Dalgarno in Oxford, England in 1680.  Heady was the fundraising agent for the American Printing House for the Blind in the 1860s.  He traveled all around central Kentucky demonstrating a model …

Quick Tip: Tactile Graphic Line Slate. This one-of-a-kind slate helps you create raised lines for tactile graphics onto various media (braille paper, vinyl, foil, and drawing film).

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Resources for Persons with Disabilities for Finding Employment

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Inspired by National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM), we intend to highlight in this post several resources available to anyone with a disability that they can use to locate employment. While a few of them are local or regional in scope, most are available to anyone in the United States. Some of the listed agencies offer tips for finding employment; others offer job boards, job listings, and career fairs. Note that we are not including vocational rehabilitation services or offices for the blind as these vary by state.

There also may be other local resources that you may obtain; check with the appropriate personnel in your state or region. For the sake of clarity, we placed these resources into what we are calling “restricted” and “unrestricted” resources. We use the term restricted to indicate either that the resource has a limited scope, i.e., its services are only available to people in a particular area of the country, or the resource is only available to people with…