Showing posts from March, 2016

Quick Tip: The Impressor. Make your business cards accessible with this embosser.


Throwback Thursday Object: Puzzle map of the US

Our object this week is a molded puzzle map of the United States from the 1940s.  APH Superintendent Benjamin Huntoon began making wooden relief maps in the basement of the Kentucky School for the Blind in the 1870s.  Little changed in their manufacture for fifty years.  In 1922, APH bought electric carving tools to speed the process, but the manufacture of the maps continued to require skill and tedious handwork.  In 1936, an article in the Courier Journal featured an interview with the foreman of the APH map shop, William J. Butler, who was working on a wooden model of a U.S. map to be used to "make a mold for experiments in compositions."  The copyright date on the mold of 1939 suggests the experiments were completed by that date.  Production of dissected maps almost doubled in the years between 1938 and 1944, reaching levels not seen again until the mid 1960s.  By 1945, the desk-sized hard rubber relief map of the U.S. appeared in the APH catalog.  A 1945 report on map w…

Quick Tip: Orientation & Mobility for Wheelchair Users with Visual Impairments


Microsoft's Disability Answer Desk

Recently we wrote about Apple's Accessibility Page. But Apple is not the only mainstream technology company who has demonstrated a concerted effort to reach and assist people with differing disabilities. If you use Microsoft products of any kind and you have a disability, Microsoft’s Disability Answer Desk is the place to turn for assistance. Microsoft describes the disability answer desk as follows: “The Disability Answer Desk is where people with disabilities can get support with Microsoft products and accessibility features.”
To reach the disability answer desk, call 1 (800) 936-5900 between 5am-9pm (Pacific Time) on weekdays and 6am-3pm (Pacific Time) on weekends. You may also contact them via videophone at 1 (503) 427-1234 for American Sign Language Support. The site which provides information about the answer desk also offers a chat option that is available 24 hours a day. To use the chat feature, it appears that you must log into your Microsoft account; I clicked the chat li…

Quick Tip: All Aboard! The Sight Word Activity Express


Accessible March Madness Resources

If you’re anything like me, you find yourself caught up in the phenomenon aptly termed “March Madness.” Even the most casual college basketball fan can find something to interest them as it relates to March Madness—a local school who succeeds in the tournament, a small school who defeats bigger schools and advances, or the inspirational story of a player who has overcome adversity to make an impact on the tournament.
Regardless of your level of tournament knowledge or interest, we are providing you links for participating in an accessible bracket contest and for listening to or watching the games. First, you know if you have tried to participate in bracket contests that many lack accessibility. There are too many out there to test all of them; however, we know that there is one specially created bracket contest, the goal of which is to provide a fully accessible bracket for screen readers. To participate, go to to get all of the information and to fill …

Blindfold Games: iOS Games for the Visually Impaired

Do you want to use your iOS device to play games? Maybe you thought it was impossible or that the selection was quite small. Fortunately Marty Schultz of Kid Friendly Software has developed a series of games developed for blind and visually impaired people to play. Sighted people also can play these games, many of which are adaptations of card games or board games you probably already know.
Marty describes the development of Blindfold Games as follows:
At Blindfold Games, we're building audio games for visually impaired kids, teens and adults. Since 2013, we've created over two dozen games that are enjoyed by thousands of blind people.

With Kid Friendly Software, I create game apps for visually impaired and sighted children, teens and adults.  The first game we built was Blindfold Racer, an audio game where you drive with your ears instead of your eyes, built as a STEM project with 4th, 5th and 6th grade children.  That game was so popular, and we received so much praise from…

NEW! Accessible Tests Resource Center

APH’s new President Craig Meador envisioned an online Accessible Tests Resource Center. Director Debbie Willis accepted the opportunity to make valuable test-related data/information/resources available for use by test publishers, item developers, accessible media producers, test takers who are blind or visually impaired, their parents, guardians, teachers, school administrators, test administrators, and a variety of assessment personnel and test teams across the country. Communications Department Director Scott Blome, Media Specialist Ricky Irvine, Webmaster Malcolm Turner, and Social Media Specialist Paul Ferrara agreed to create this new sub-site of our APH website, to check content for logical flow and accessibility, and to incorporate information provided onto the site, while adding interesting graphics-based information to enhance readability of the text-based information.
At this time, there are 25 major categories that focus on the topic of Accessible Tests. The list of catego…

Quick Tip: FVLMA Work Site


O&M for Wheelchair Users with Visual Impairment or Blindness

This web-based publication helps O&M instructors learn how to train students who are wheelchair users to travel safely and effectively.

Follow Scott Crawford as he instructs a variety of adult wheelchair users—who also experience vision impairment—in the proper techniques to complete tight turns, enter and exit through doorways, trail sidewalks and curbs, ascend and descend stairs and escalators, and much more. Scott's ability to analyze the environment and to solve mobility obstacles make this a must have educational tool.

This website shares techniques and strategies that are proven successful with students in the rehabilitation setting. It does not suggest that any particular skill be taught in a particular method, and acknowledges that what works successfully with some students may fail with others.

The O&M for Wheelchair Users website includes 12-chapters with Q&A and True Story sidebars plus 197 demonstration video clips. Each chapter has easy access to the top …

APH on Pinterest

It is our goal to interact with you in as many ways as we can. Besides this blog, facebook and twitter, we have significantly increased our presence on pinterest. With the creation of our two newest boards, deafblind and APH sale items, we now have 23 pinterest boards. Besides increasing our boards, we have also sought to add pins from many places covering multiple topics.
For anyone who may be unfamiliar with pinterest, it is a site which people use to promote things they like with the use of pins. Each pin is a product, recipe, item or picture thus making pinterest an excellent way to shocase products visually while, at the same time, adding a written description and providing a link to view, obtain information and purchase the product.
You may discover some overlap between boards. You may also wish to repin pins to your own boards or add pins to ours. We hope you utilize these boards and that they benefit you, and if pinterest is something you have not experienced, this is an excel…

March 2016 APH News is now online!

**This Month’s Headlines:
Louis Braille Book UnveilingDorinda Rife Joins APH as Vice PresidentMARCH 25TH DEADLINE to Enter APH InSights Art Competition!APH Museum Readers Theater presents, “The Mousetrap”Episode Five of TGTV Now Available!Treasures from the APH LibrariesQuick Tipsfrom APHSocial Media SpotlightAPH Travel CalendarNew Products from APHThe Braille Book Corner and much, much more…

TapTapSee: A Blind and Visually Impaired Camera

TapTapSee is a mobile camera application designed specifically for the blind and visually impaired. Versions are available for both Android and iOS devices. The app utilizes the smartphone’s camera and a mobile screen reader like TalkBack or Voiceover to photograph objects, identify them and speak the identity out loud for the user.
TapTapSee enables the user to double tap on the device’s screen to photograph any two or three dimensional object at any angle, have it accurately analyzed, and defined within seconds. As was stated above, once this process is complete, the mobile screen reader then speaks the identification audibly to the user.
Moreover, TapTapSee includes the following additional features: Repetition of the last image’s identification, ability to upload images from the camera roll, share identification via Twitter, Facebook, text or email, rotor reader, flash toggle, and the ability to save the identified image to the camera roll with the attached tag. The ability to uploa…

Throwback Thursday: Our First Talking Book

Our object this week helps us celebrate the 85th anniversary of the passage of the Pratt-Smoot Act on March 3, 1931.  Pratt-Smoot helped create the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped within the Library of Congress.  Originally, the NLS planned to circulate only braille books, but the American Foundation of the Blind and its director Robert Irwin championed the inclusion of audio books too.  In 1936, the American Printing House installed a model sound recording studio, and by the end of the year, APH Superintendent A.C. Ellis was boasting that we were the only institution in the world with the capacity to record and press talking book records.  Our first book was “Gulliver’s Travels,” but unfortunately no copies have been preserved.  Our object is a the first record from Washington Irving’s  “The Sketchbook,” which came on sixteen black vinyl 33 1/3 rpm phonograph records, one of four other books we recorded that year.  You’ll note on the record label tha…

Quick Tip: Blast Off with Braille!