Showing posts from January, 2017

Accessible 2017 Tax Publications and Videos Available from the Internal Revenue Service

We are happy to report that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) again makes accessible documents, videos, and other resources available for people with disabilities. The IRS provided the following article:
IRS Services for People with Disabilities
Hundreds of accessible federal tax forms and publications are available for download from the IRS Accessibility Web pages. Visit and select the Forms & Pubs tab to access the Accessible Forms and Pubs link.You can choose from large-print, text, accessible PDFs, e-Braille, or HTML formats that are compatible when used with screen readers and refreshable Braille displays. The IRS also provides videos in American Sign Language with the latest tax informationand has a dedicated ASL YouTube Channel that houses the videos.
IRS Tax Return Preparation Help is Available
People who are unable to complete their tax returns because of a physical disability or are age 60 or older may get assistance through the IRS Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (…

Throwback Thursday Object: First Annual Report of the American Printing House for the Blind

First Annual Report of the American Printing House for the Blind

Our object this week celebrates our “Founder’s Day,” observed on January 23rd every year, the day in 1858 that the President of the Kentucky Senate signed the bill that chartered our company and sent it to Governor Charles Morehead to be signed.  You can read a copy here.  Our first annual report was not published until November 1860, and much of it was written by our first “General Agent,” a colorful character named Dempsey B. Sherrod.  This is a complicated story, so my blog this week will be a bit longer than usual. Sherrod was a graduate of the Mississippi School for the Blind.  Like other blind men of his age, he had been taught to read using raised letters, but there were very few books available in that format.  So he took it upon himself to change that.  He began traveling around the South and Midwest, urging legislatures to support this thing he called The American Printing House for the Blind.  His first success …

Quick Tip: Little Breath of Wind: An adorable print/braille book with rich tactile illustrations, has now been made UEB-compliant!


Nature for the Blind: Connecting People Who Are Blind and Visually Impaired with Opportunities for Outdoor Exploration

What ideas and thoughts come to mind when you think of nature, especially as it relates to persons who are blind and how they interact with it? Perhaps you’ve had experiences as I have where people with typical vision talked about how much they wished I could see one or more aspects of nature or some outdoor phenomenon that seemed only to be understood by people with typical eyesight.
While people with blindness and low vision may not experience the outdoors in the same way as people with typical vision, they can enjoy it, learn about it, and experience it in their own unique way. This post highlights a new website,, dedicated to enhancing the understanding and interaction with nature and the outdoors by people who are blind and visually impaired. We will discuss the site’s founder and his inspiration for creating it, the information the site provides, and how you may add to its content.
Nature for the Blind
The Nature for the Blind website strives to co…

Quick Tip: Fred's Head from APH. Read about the more than 3000 posts and the 200 areas of interest we cover in the blog and find out how to contribute.


A Comprehensive History of Braille

January is Braille Literacy Month
APH’s copy of Procédé pour écrire les paroles, la musique et le plain-chant au moyen de point, 1829, by Louis Braille (1809-1852). Dear Readers:
January marks Braille Literacy Month, an opportunity to take a step back and contemplate the importance of braille in the lives of children and adults who are visually impaired or blind. Literacy has taken on increased importance in our world as we’ve moved through history, and it has never been so critical to success and fulfillment as it is today. The ability to read and write, whether using the senses of vision, hearing, touch, or a combination of senses, is considered a critical skill for employment and leading a well-rounded life.
Literacy through touch has not always been a given for those who are blind, and methods of reading tactually have evolved. Thanks to APH Museum Director Micheal Hudson, we are able to provide you with a detailed chronology of the evolution of braille and the literacy it has b…

Throwback Thursday Object: Todd's Improved Edison-Mimeograph Typewriter

To continue looking at alternative writing tools as we celebrate Louis Braille’s birthday, this week we feature an early typewriter adapted for users with vision loss.  Famed inventor Thomas Alva Edison developed this machine in 1894 to cut stencils for his Mimeograph machine. (A Mimeograph was an early duplicating machine that I learned how to use as a page back in my own middle school.)  The Edison Mimeograph Typewriter used a rotating disk on the base to select a letter, then a lever on the left of the machine was pressed to activate a hammer that struck a plunger that typed on the underside of the roller. To view what had been typed, an operator had to swing the carriage upward. W.G. Todd, Superintendent of the Kansas Institution for Education of the Blind from 1893-1895, sold a modified version of the Edison-Mimeograph Typewriter that he had adapted for use by people who were blind or visually impaired. Todd rearranged the keyboard and put raised letters on the keys. This example…

Quick Tip: Denna Lambert' Keynote Address. This inspirational talk was given during APH's Annual Meeting 2016. Please enjoy!


January 2017 APH News

January is Braille Literacy Month! Some of this month's headlines include:

Celebrating Braille Literacy MonthOrbit Reader 20 PreviewNew Products: Braille Badges and UEB Little Breath of WindNew Feature! STEM ProductsVideo: Denna Lambert, Annual Meeting KeynoteAPH Receives Golden Apple AwardTreasure from the Migel: Father Thomas Carroll LetterSocial Media Spotlight: What You'll Find in APH's Facebook FeedQuick Tips Corner: Braille-Related VideosAPH Travel Calendar and more…

Throwback Thursday Object: the Noctograph

The Noctograph
Our object this week dates back to the days of Louis Braille. And Louis wasn’t the only person who was blind searching for better ways to write. Ralph Wedgwood, an English inventor credited with inventing carbon paper, was issued a patent for "An Apparatus for Producing Duplicates of Writings" in 1806. The device, as described in the patent, is similar to this object, an original “Prescott's Noctograph.”
William Hickling Prescott (1796-1859), an American historian, was gradually losing his vision and invented this device for writing. The writing frame of the Noctograph is wrapped in fine green leather, and features a series of parallel brass wires. Measuring 10 1/8 x 8 3/8 in., it was used with a stylus, instead of pencil or pen.
Carbon paper--thin paper coated with carbon or another colored substance--was inserted between two sheets of writing paper that were placed beneath the writing frame. When the stylus was pressed into the top sheet of paper, t…

Quick Tip: Gross Motor Development Curriculum. The Gross Motor Development Curriculum for Children With Visual Impairments by the American Printing House for the Blind is a new curriculum written by Dr. Pamela Haibach and Dr. Lauren Lieberman.