Showing posts from February, 2017

NEW! Amazon's Disability Customer Service Line!

Within the past year, we posted about Apple's Accessibility Hotline and Microsoft's Accessibility Answer Desk. Earlier in 2017, I discovered a new accessibility resource, seemingly by accident.
I wanted to work to improve my skills with Safari on a Mac and decided that working with a familiar site would be beneficial. I pulled up and heard something quite unusual.
If you use the Amazon site on a computer, you probably know about the screen reader optimized site and have already read the message that says, in part, “We have recently updated the screen reader optimized website to include headings, landmarks, and new shopping features to improve your experience. Please follow this link …”. When I pulled up Amazon’s site on this particular evening using VoiceOver, I read a different message, a new link located right after the “Help” link if you are not signed in and right after the “My account” link if you are.
Disability Customer Support Line
What was this …

Throwback Thursday Object: The Taylor Arithmetic Slate

Recently one of our followers on Twitter asked us about the Taylor Slate so we decided to feature it in this column. The first photo shows the slate, itself, with this description: “The aluminum Taylor Slate has an 18 x 24 grid of star-shaped holes and a tray to hold types.” The second photo shows a key to represent how rotating the types lets you represent all ten digits and the operatives. The full description is below. The description from Museum Director Micheal Hudson is below.
The Reverend William Taylor became superintendent of the Yorkshire School for the Blind in England in 1836.  While at the school he developed his "Ciphering Tablet,” and the design was eventually used in schools around the world.  A metal board is pierced by rows of star-shaped octagonal holes.  The board came with a stack of metal “types,” basically small rectangles with two raised pins on one side and a raised bar on the other.  By rotating the types in the octagonal holes, each type could assume en…

Quick Tip: Teaching Spatial Concepts with Picture Maker. The Picture Maker Wheatley Tactile Diagramming Kit is one of APH’s most versatile products, and can be used for many activities - one being to teach spatial concepts.


Retail Savings Guide for People with Disabilities from

Countless websites and newsletters provide online coupons and promo codes for saving money at stores and websites. One of these sites is You may browse the site at your leisure. We mention CouponChief, however, because one of its employees sent us a Retail Savings Guide for People with Disabilities which it recently developed. The site already produced savings guides for women, veterans, and seniors.
The savings guide for people with disabilities is general in scope and is not tailored to people who are blind or to any other particular group. That being said, people who are blind and visually impaired certainly may benefit from the guide.
What is Covered?
The guide is broken down into the following sections:
·Financial Hardship statistics
·Organizations that Help People with a Disability Get Discounts and Special Pricing
·Discounts and Special Offers Available to Those with Disabilities
·Free Assistive Technology
·Caregivers, Health Care, and Financia…

Throwback Thursday Object: Large Type Printing Press

If you have trouble seeing well enough to perform daily tasks, even with glasses or after surgery, then you have low vision.  February is Low Vision Awareness Month.  We dug a photograph out of a scrapbook of newspaper clippings that we’ve been working on to recognize the event.  This is a shot from January 1971 showing a line of Davidson 600 offset printing presses.  Legendary APH production chief Virgil Zickel stands at far right beside Howard Oliver and a salesman, Frank Gatchel.  The operator on the front machine—APH had six of these models at the time—is Roy Carroll.  APH started manufacturing textbooks in large type for low vision students in 1947.  By the 1970s we had rows and rows of offset presses from Davidson, Miehle-Goss-Dexter, and A.B. Dick.  If you want to learn how the offset printing process worked, look here.  In the 1980s, we started experimenting with photocopiers from Minolta, and today our entire production of about eleven million pages of large type comes off on…

Quick Tip: Tactile Editing Marks Kit. Use the Tactile Editing Marks Kit with students who read and write in braille to support the literary and research writing process.


Quick Tip: Sensory Learning Kit. The Sensory Learning Kit is an extensive set of sensory items and written materials that help the most significantly challenged learners increase their curiosity and, in turn, develop specific skills related to basic communication.


February, 2017 APH News ready to viewe

A Few of This Month’s Headlines:
STEM CornerNew Products: Echolocation and FlashSonar and VisioBook Carrying Bag; Revised: Push Button PadlockAudio and Video 2016 Annual Meeting SessionsEnter Now! 2017 APH InSights Art CompetitionTreasure from the Migel: Samuel Gridley Howe Address to Trustees of the New England Institution for the Education of the BlindAPH Voted in the Top Ten Technology Stories of 2016Social Media Spotlight: Are You Following APH on Twitter?APH Travel Calendar and more…

How to Help a Loved One with a Vision Impairment set Up a Safe Home

The following article was sent to us by someone who made adjustments to her home to accommodate a relative with low vision who moved into the home. We will include a bit of background information provided by the author, her article, and three resources she mentions in it. You may add comments offering other suggestions if you wish. The specific accommodations will vary depending on the type and size of the home; nevertheless, this article provides a detailed description of what one family did to modify aspects of their home to assist a visually impaired relative who came to stay in that home. Here is her information and story.
My name is Jackie Waters, and I am a mother of four beautiful and energetic boys. I live with my family on our three acre hobby farm in Oregon. 
My husband’s sister, who has been visually impaired since childhood, recently came to live with us. While we were excited to welcome her to our home, we knew our old farmhouse presented a lot of potential obstacles and ha…

Throwback Thursday Object: The Fifteen Puzzle

Our object this week is a braille sliding puzzle from England, probably around 1920 or so.  The goal was to arrange the fifteen game pieces, each topped with a braille number, into consecutive order, without lifting a piece from the bright red tin box.  The pieces are arranged in a four by four grid with one space left empty.  Like all sliding puzzles, you could only shift one piece at a time.  Probably not as easy as it sounds.  The square pieces are cast out of an early brown plastic called Bakelite.  Sliding puzzles were the Rubik’s Cube of the late nineteenth century, introduced commercially by a Boston woodworker named Mattias Rice.
The 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 in 1914, and to Royal National Institute for the Blind in 1953.  In 1920, NIB expanded its mandate to include the production and sale of "Apparatus for Use by t…

Quick Tip: JAWS® and MAGic® Student Edition. Available for K-12 students using Federal Quota Funds!