blind_html Fwd: Fred's Head Companion - American Printing House for the Blind

  • From: Nimer Jaber <nimerjaber1@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: blind_html@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Thu, 23 Apr 2009 10:38:24 -0600

Some of these are good for students.

-------- Original Message --------
Subject:        Fred's Head Companion - American Printing House for the Blind
Date:   Thu, 23 Apr 2009 12:08:37 +0000
From:   Fred's Head <fredshead@xxxxxxx>
To:     nimerjaber1@xxxxxxxxx



 Fred's Head Companion - American Printing House for the Blind
 <http://www.fredshead.info/>

        Link to Fred's Head <http://www.fredshead.info/>

Brigance Diagnostic Comprehensive Inventory of Basic Skills, Revised, 1999 <http://feedproxy.google.com/%7Er/FredsHeadCompanion/%7E3/7YYn7OdN3q8/brigance-diagnostic-comprehensive.html>

Posted: 22 Apr 2009 12:30 PM PDT

Comprehensive Inventory of Basic Skills by Albert H. Brigance Student Large Print Edition

This assessment is also known as Brigance Green. CIBS-R is a criterion-referenced inventory that assesses, on an individual basis, a student's strengths or weaknesses in specific skill areas. The CIBS-R has been especially useful in support of IEP development and program planning.

The revised 1999 edition spans grades pre-kindergarten through nine. Innovations include options for group administration, updated grade placement tests, updated skill sequences, and alternative assessment options for pretests and posttests. Two spiral bound volumes contain the student pages, which can lie flat or be used on a bookstand or with a CCTV.


       Features:

   * Color-coded tabs and divider pages match the print test colors
   * Spiral bound volumes can lie flat or fold back
   * Enlarged illustrations and maps printed on separate 11 x 17 inch
     "pull-out" pages
   * Large Print Toss-Away Rulers supplied for math subtests
   * GlaReducers glare-reducing sheets included

Note: Administration and scoring of this large print edition should be carried out by trained paraprofessionals and professionals precisely in accordance with instructions found in the regular print edition.

/Note: This student large print edition was designed to be used only in conjunction with the print inventory./ To order the print test, student record books, and other regular print materials, contact: Curriculum Associates, Inc., 153 Rangeway Road, North Billerica, MA 01862-0901, 800-225-0248, Fax: 800-366-1158, www.curriculumassociates.com <http://www.curriculumassociates.com>

Catalog Number: 4-00000-00
Click this link to purchase the Brigance Diagnostic Comprehensive Inventory of Basic Skills (Green), Revised, 1999: Student Large Print Edition <https://shop.aph.org/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/Product_Brigance%20Diagnostic%20Comprehensive%20Inventory%20of%20Basic%20Skills%20%28Green%29,%20Revised,%201999:%20Student%20Large%20Print%20Edition_4-00000-00P_10001_11051>.

American Printing House for the Blind, Inc.
1839 Frankfort Avenue
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 6085
Louisville, Kentucky 40206-0085
Toll Free: 800-223-1839
Phone: 502-895-2405
Fax: 502-899-2274
E-mail: info@xxxxxxx <mailto:info@xxxxxxx>
Web site: http://www.aph.org

Student Large Print Edition
4-00000-00 Replacement Items:

Large Print Toss-Away Ruler (24 pack):
Catalog Number: 1-03011-00

GlaReducers (pack of 4):
Catalog Number: 1-03062-00

Click here to purchase this item through our Quick Order Entry page: http://shop.aph.org/quickentry.asp <http://shop.aph.org/quickentry.asp>

If you need assistance, click this link to read the Fred's Head Companion post "Purchasing Products From The APH Website Is Easy" <http://fredsheadcompanion.blogspot.com/2005/11/purchasing-products-from-aph-website.html>.

American Printing House for the Blind, Inc.
1839 Frankfort Avenue
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 6085
Louisville, Kentucky 40206-0085
Toll Free: 800-223-1839
Phone: 502-895-2405
Fax: 502-899-2274
E-mail: info@xxxxxxx <mailto:info@xxxxxxx>
Web site: http://www.aph.org
APH Shopping Home: http://shop.aph.org

Improve Your Wireless Network <http://feedproxy.google.com/%7Er/FredsHeadCompanion/%7E3/HU6nGurE884/improve-your-wireless-network.html>

Posted: 22 Apr 2009 12:09 PM PDT

With the introduction of APH's Braille+ Mobile Manager <http://fredsheadcompanion.blogspot.com/2007/05/braille-mobile-manager.html>, people have been asking about wireless networks for their homes. They've also been asking how to get the most from their network. Here's some tips to insure that you get the best speed and the strongest connection from your network.

  1. First, keeping the wireless router in a central place is a good
     idea. If you had four computers in two different rooms, placing
     the router somewhere in the middle ensures equal flow to both
     sides. This also insures good coverage as you walk around with
     your Braille+.

  2. Contrary to popular belief, a wireless signal is not just sent
     from the router to the computer or notetaker. It is also sent back
     from the computer or notetaker to the router. So, even if the
     computer or notetaker is able to receive the signal easily, it, at
     times, is not able to send them back as smoothly. That is mainly
     because of walls or other wireless electronics that may be in the
     path of you and your router. This can also be caused by the
     incompetence of the wireless network adapter inside some PCs.
     Replacing the internal wireless adapter with a USB version (which
     has an external antenna) can improve this to a great extent.

  3. Sometimes, the area that needs the wireless access is too vast for
     the wireless router to cover effectively. Hence, the signal
     strength problem arises again. To combat this, you can use
     wireless repeaters. Wireless repeaters extend your wireless
     network further, without you having to install another router. The
     repeater simply intercepts the signal from the wireless router and
     extends it further, thus increasing the range of your signal.

  4. Wireless routers can operate on different channels, much like
     radio stations. Now, by radio, I don't mean Internet radio, but
     the regular good ol' radio. Sometimes, you can hear one radio
     station clearer than another. Similar is the case with the
     wireless routers. The channels they operate on in the U.S. are
     channels 1, 6 and 11. At times, one channel is clearer than the
     other, so in case of problems, it's a good idea to change the
     channels every once in awhile in the wireless router settings.

  5. Wireless routers use the 2.4 GHz frequencies, which means that if
     you have other wireless electronics in your home that use the same
     frequency, there's going to be a clash. Although the router will
     function normally, it might have to work harder to send/receive
     the signal. Hence, it's a good idea to buy wireless electronics
     that use other frequency ranges.

  6. As with most applications, it's very important to constantly
     update the firmware for your router and the drivers for your
     wireless network adapter or portible device. This will usually
     improve the performance, as well as, the reliability.

  7. Most of the wireless networks are type 802.11b, but what most
     people don't realize is that 802.11g is about five times faster.
     If you are using an 802.11b and in spite of following the above
     advice, your speed still doesn't improve, then as a last option,
     consider upgrading to an 802.11g. This essentially means upgrading
     the router and any network adapters to 802.11g equipment as well.
     That's certainly bound to show a considerable improvement in your
     network speed.

Larry Skutchan: a Blind Cool Tech <http://feedproxy.google.com/%7Er/FredsHeadCompanion/%7E3/Vi0WYYDm3Lo/larry-skutchan-blind-cool-tech.html>

Posted: 22 Apr 2009 12:08 PM PDT

Larry Skutchan holding his John R. Mattioli Jr. Technical Innovation Award

With the introduction of APH's Braille+ Mobile Manager <http://fredsheadcompanion.blogspot.com/2007/05/braille-mobile-manager.html>, I thought it was time to talk about someone I've looked up to for many years.

As a student at the Kentucky School for the Blind, I became aware of Larry Skutchan when I began working on the apple II E computer. My screen reader was a program called Bex and I remember seeing Larry's name on the credits. I would later meet Larry as I toured APH and stopped in his office to hear some of the latest speech-enabled products offered at the time. It's people like Larry who fired up my interest in technology and computers.

Over the years, I've had the opportunity to speak with Larry at different events and now that we work in the same building, I get to speak with him a little more often. He's just one of those people who you learn something from everytime you talk to them. He's always up on the latest computer gadgets and filled with great ideas of how to make technology work for the blind. There's a handfull of people that have made a difference in my life, and Larry is certainly one of them.

Larry began his career writing software for use with the Apple II computer, the ProWords talking word processor and ProTerm, a telecommunications program. He created the ASAP and ASAW screen readers for DOS and Windows, respectively, to make computers accessible to the blind. Skutchan later formed the company, Microtalk, and later the BlindCoolTech Podcast <http://www.blindcooltech.com>, an internet forum for people involved in developing technology for persons who are visually impaired and blind.

Born in Nebraska, Skutchan has lived all over the world as his dad spent 20 years in the Air Force. After his father retired, the family bought a farm and settled in Arkansas. He graduated from high school in Arkansas and received a B.A. in English from the University of Arkansas in Little Rock. He lost his eyesight at the age of 19 due to retinal detachments.

People like Larry have opened so many doors for the rest of us. I wouldn't be the Coordinator of Fred's Head without the work of Larry Skutchan.

Braille Contraction Recognition Kit <http://feedproxy.google.com/%7Er/FredsHeadCompanion/%7E3/XPHxt8NsL1I/braille-contraction-recognition-kit.html>

Posted: 22 Apr 2009 12:21 PM PDT

Braille Contraction Recognition Kit

New Name, New Components, New Configuration, Same Objective: APH's previous BCR kit (Braille Code Recognition) has changed to Braille /Contraction/ Recognition kit!


       New BCR Components:

   * Teacher's Manual explains the program, provides suggestions for
     its use, and suggests additional practice material and helpful hints
   * Pretesting and Posttesting Components provide a formal measurement
     tool


       New Configuration:

   * Teacher/Student Kit contains one teacher's manual in either large
     print or braille and one Student Kit in braille
   * Student Kit contains same materials as in the kit above, but
     without the teacher's manual


       Same Objective:

   * Increase braille reading accuracy
   * Increase braille reading rate

Teacher's Kit, Print:
Catalog Number: 1-03251-00

Teacher's Kit, Braille:
Catalog Number: 1-03252-00

Student's Kit, Braille:
Catalog Number: 1-03253-00
Click this link to purchase the Braille Contraction Recognition Kit <https://shop.aph.org/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/Product_Braille%20Contraction%20Recognition:%20Teacher-Student%20Kit,%20Large%20Print_1529870P_10001_11051>.

American Printing House for the Blind, Inc.
1839 Frankfort Avenue
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 6085
Louisville, Kentucky 40206-0085
Toll Free: 800-223-1839
Phone: 502-895-2405
Fax: 502-899-2274
E-mail: info@xxxxxxx <mailto:info@xxxxxxx>
Web site: http://www.aph.org APH Shopping Home: http://shop.aph.org

Azer's Interactive Periodic Table Study Set <http://feedproxy.google.com/%7Er/FredsHeadCompanion/%7E3/iLfxfoiu_eY/azers-interactive-periodic-table-study.html>

Posted: 22 Apr 2009 11:54 AM PDT

Azer's Interactive Periodic Table Study Set

This interactive study set is designed to make learning about the Periodic Table of the Elements accessible to students with visual impairments or blindness.

The tangible materials included with this study set complement APH's Periodic Table of the Elements Reference Chart and allow students to enhance their understanding of concepts consistent with the National Science Standards. Inspired by Samir Azer, a science teacher at the Kentucky School for the Blind, this set can assist in the instruction and demonstration of concepts related to the arrangement of the periodic table, atomic structure, ionic and covalent bonding, and balancing of chemical equations to students who benefit from a hands-on, interactive model. Special attention was given to make the materials tactually discriminable and visually appealing to the target population, yet appropriate for all students regardless of visual acuity.


       Includes:

   * 294 interactive hexagonal element pieces (a minimum of one per
     element, as well as polyatomic ions)
   * Additional interactive accessories including coefficient,
     oxidation, and subscript numbers, arrows, plus signs, parentheses,
     and assessment pieces
   * 2 atomic models with accessories
   * Storage binder with accessories
   * Tri-fold Veltex® board (37" x 24"), used to balance chemical
     equations and/or display the entire periodic table
   * Large Print Guidebook (with CD containing html, brf, txt, and dtb
     versions and a Word® file of the Skills Checklist). Braille
     Guidebook available separately.

Note: Some assembly required. Recommended ages: 10 years and up.

/WARNING: Choking Hazard-Small Parts. Not intended for children ages 5 and under without adult supervision./

Catalog Number:1-08856-00

Optional Braille Guidebook:
Catalog Number: 5-08856-00

Replacement Large Print Guidebook:
Catalog Number: 7-08856-00
Click this link to purchase Azer's Interactive Periodic Table Study Set <https://shop.aph.org/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/Product_Azer%27s%20Interactive%20Periodic%20Table%20Study%20Set_1-08856-00P_10001_11051>.

American Printing House for the Blind, Inc.
1839 Frankfort Avenue
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 6085
Louisville, Kentucky 40206-0085
Toll Free: 800-223-1839
Phone: 502-895-2405
Fax: 502-899-2274
E-mail: info@xxxxxxx <mailto:info@xxxxxxx>
Web site: http://www.aph.org
APH Shopping Home: http://shop.aph.org


       The Periodic Table of Videos

Here's a great site from the University of Nottingham, designed for students in Grades 7 to 12. Every element in the periodic table has a video which provides background information, ties in to new discoveries or application to everyday life, and can contain an experiment for better understanding.

Click this link to visit http://www.periodicvideos.com <http://www.periodicvideos.com>.

Technical, Scientific and Mathematical Tables in Braille <http://feedproxy.google.com/%7Er/FredsHeadCompanion/%7E3/zRVhkn49vC0/technical-scientific-and-mathematical.html>

Posted: 22 Apr 2009 11:03 AM PDT

Braille copies of more than 400 standard technical, scientific and mathematical tables found primarily in high school and college textbooks are available for purchase from the Braille Technical Tables Bank of the National Braille Association. The collection includes standard tables found in mathematics, computer science, statistics, chemistry, physics, finance, and other subjects.

A great idea for transcribers is to insert these tables into their textbook transcriptions and avoid brailling the standard tables.

Free catalogs are available from NBA. Some of their titles include:
Periodic table of the elements
Mileage chart in kilometers
Powers, roots, and reciprocals table
Dietary allowances
Trigonometric functions, natural and logarithmic table
A brief table of integrals Normal curve, areas and ordinates
Reference tables for general chemistry
Table of metric units of measurement
Table of English units of measurement
Factorials tables
Normal curve, areas and ordinates table
Regression and least squares tables
Statistics tables
Fraction, decimal, and percent equivalents table
Multiplication table
Metric conversion tables
Present value of $1 at compound interest table
Metric system tables of data
Area and volume formulas tables
Conversion table
Table of units of measurement

For more information or to order a catalog please contact:

National Braille Association
3 Townline Circle
Rochester, NY 14623-2513
Phone: 716-427-8260
Fax: 716-427-0263
Web: http://www.nationalbraille.org


       Quick Reference Braille Guide

Charlotte W. Ovard's website contains The Quick Reference Braille Guide and Braille and Nemeth Charts, written and designed as tools for the Braille Student or Braille Transcriber and Translator who is already familiar with Braille. These tools serve as quick memory joggers and include examples for Braille rules and symbols.

The Quick Reference Braille Guide is also available in Braille. For a copy of this Guide in Braille, please contact Charlotte W. Ovard by clicking this link: charlotte.ovard@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx <mailto:charlotte.ovard@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>.

The Quick Reference Braille Guide and Braille and Nemeth Charts can be viewed, accessed, and printed by going to the Braille Rules/Charts Icon on her site at http://teacherweb.com/UT/Granite/VisionBraille-CharlotteWOvard/. For more information, contact:

Charlotte Werner Ovard
Braille Transcriber/Translator
Granite School District
Special Services - Vision Department - Braille
2589 South Main, Room 223
Salt Lake City, UT 84115
Phone: 801-646-4633
Email: charlotte.ovard@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx <mailto:charlotte.ovard@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>

Virtual Vision Glasses <http://feedproxy.google.com/%7Er/FredsHeadCompanion/%7E3/8LBZlZCDluY/virtual-vision-glasses.html>

Posted: 22 Apr 2009 09:45 AM PDT

Do you have enough vision to watch television? Are you uncomfortable sitting so close to the TV in order to see the screen? Do you get in the way of other family members who are also trying to watch the latest movie with you?

If you answered yes to these questions, the Rimax Virtual Vision Glasses may be a solution for you.

The Virtual Vision 3.0 glasses strap to your head and deliver the equivalent view of a 36-inch TV direct to your eyes. The glasses have an internal LCD screen, so not only do you get your very own personal cinema, you also get great picture quality. The glasses also feature a set of stereo earphones that sit snugly in your ears while you're wearing them.

Main Features:

   * Mini LCD display
   * Unique optical system is adapted to replicate a 36-inch screen 2
     meters away
   * Broad adaptability; can be connected to DVD players, Game Consoles
     or other standard AV products
   * Supports PAL and NTSC video signals
   * External battery for complete freedom - up to 8 hours maximum per
     charge
   * Easy operation and convenience of portability
   * Variable volume, brightness and contrast
   * Can be worn over conventional glasses
   * Power adapter: output DC 9V stable voltage
   * Rechargeable Lithium battery: LP900 lithium battery, 7.2V / 900mAH
   * Compatible with all kinds of audio video devices: can be connected
     to a TV, a DVD player or a games console

I can think of a variety of uses for this device. How about using it with your computer? Many video cards now offer an optional "TV Out" jack that these glasses could be connected to. No more leaning over the desk to see the monitor!

How about portible CCTVs that send their video to a television monitor. Connect these glasses and really get close to your documents.

Click this link to purchase the Rimax Virtual Vision Glasses from Paramountzone.com <http://www.paramountzone.com/virtualvisionglasses.htm>.


       iTheater: Watch Movies Anytime, Anywhere

Do you wonder how exciting it would be to watch your favorite action movie on a big screen TV? Maybe you have a secret passion for new high-tech electronics? Perhaps there is just not enough room in the living area for the Big screen TV you always wanted? Well, now you can make your dreams come true with one amazing set of video glasses. To say video glasses is an understatement considering the sound and visual quality the iTheater provides.

It's more of a personal entertainment center. It features an amazing 230,000 pixel resolution along with surround sound. Only weighing 3 ounces it fits very comfortably around the head. So, when you decide to watch that action packed thriller or that touching love story you can just sit back and relax.

Well, now you're probably wondering, "what exactly can I watch with this iTheater?"...Anything you want. With the included RCA cables, just plug the glasses into any number of entertainment devices (portable DVD player, Video iPod, Gaming stations, Computers). DVD's have become quite the hit and with these glasses, you can just plug them into your DVD player and watch a beautiful theater style movie.

Perhaps your passion is video games; then your in luck, it connects right into your gaming station so you can have hours of fun on a 50 inch screen. Perhaps you have a video cell phone or a photo iPod and you would like to see your photos or clips on a huge screen? Then, just plug it in with the special adapter and your ready to go.

Do you need to purchase any expensive or hard to find batteries or power sources? Nope. iTheater comes with a portable power source as well as two "AA" batteries that will keep this entertainment center going for up to 6-8 intense viewing hours. So whether you're on the go or just relaxing at home, the iTheater is ready for you.

Product Specifications:

   * Resolution: 320x240 (QVGA)
   * 230,000 pixels each LCD
   * Color configuration: vertical stripe
   * Field of view: 24°
   * Eye relief: 20mm
   * Exit pupil diameter: 10mm
   * Audio: surround stereo
   * NTSC/PAL compatible
   * 10 foot A/V cable
   * Completely portable
   * Battery operated: requires 2 "AA" batteries (not included)
   * Weight: 3 ounces



Click this link to purchase the iTheater from first STREET <http://www.firststreetonline.com/product.jsp?&id=38106>.


       Vuzix iWear - Virtual Cinema Glasses

The Vuzix iWear line of lightweight multimedia eyewear gives the user a big screen experience by creating a virtual display equivalent to a 62-inch screen viewed from a distance of 9 feet (depending on model).

Ingenious optical trickery allows all Vuzix iWear to replicate the effect of watching a big screen from a safe viewing distance. It's like having a high-quality home cinema grafted on your retinas. These hi-tech specs are 3D enabled for automatic 2D/3D control.

Click this link to see the four models currently available <http://www.firebox.com/product/2029>.


       Cinemizer Plus

Though meant for the luxury gadget market, this device has obvious accessibility potential for the visually impaired. According to the web site, the Cinemizer Plus’ “image is optically tuned to appear as virtual 45-inch (diagonal) screen, as viewed from six feet away (2 meters)“. This makes the iPhone’s little screen into one much, much bigger.

This video eyewear from Carl Zeiss is your take-along personal video screen. You'll be able to watch any movie stored on your iPod anywhere.

Click this link to learn more about the cinemizer <http://www.zeiss.com/cinemizer>.

Signature Guide For Signing Checks <http://feedproxy.google.com/%7Er/FredsHeadCompanion/%7E3/xBiNpgKSegk/signature-guide-for-signing-checks.html>

Posted: 22 Apr 2009 11:55 AM PDT

Knowing where to put one's signature on a check is an ongoing problem--and it is one which can be inconvenient and time-consuming to solve if you have to teach a new person each time to show you where to sign.

Here are three methods that might prove useful:

  1. Slip a check into a braille slate with its bottom aligned, or
     even, with that of the slate. Find the location of a line that can
     serve as a guide for placing your signature in the right place,
     then braille a line of dots across the check from the starting
     point of the signature line to the check's edge. Next put an
     "up-and-down line" from the signature line to the bottom of the
     check. Doing this creates a guide to mark the spot where your
     signature should start. Remember where these two lines meet on the
     series of checks that comprise this particular book of checks, so
     you will be able to mark each check appropriately until you finish
     the book. Then, when you start a new book of checks, remember the
     printing may be different enough from that of the first that you
     may need to make adjustments in the positioning of your dotted
     guidelines. This being the case, be sure to check each book of
     checks prior to use and to make any adjustments that may be
     required for your guidelines.
  2. Ask a sighted seamstress to unthread a sewing machine and to set
     the "stitch length" as long as it can be. Then, after sewing along
     the signature line, instruct her to turn the book at a right angle
     and to sew down to the bottom edge of the check to where the
     signature should begin. Someone can do a whole book of checks this
     way, so a blind person is able to enjoy the independence of
     signing checks until there are no more left in the book.
  3. Make a signature guide by folding in half a piece of heavy weight
     paper (such as braille paper)--or a piece of thin plastic (should
     you have such). After folding, the finished product should be at
     least half of the check high and three-quarters of the check
     wide--with the fold on the right edge. Have someone cut a
     rectangular box on the top layer of the guide that corresponds to
     the signature area of the check. Start the right end of this
     rectangle at the fold so you will have as long a signature line as
     possible. Then, slip a check into the folded signature guide,
     making sure its right edge is straight against the fold of the
     guide and that the bottom of the check is even with the bottom of
     the guide. If you position a check in the guide correctly and the
     rectangle has been cut properly, you can sign within the rectangle
     and have your signature in the right place.



       APH Signature Guide

Aids people who are visually impaired in writing their signatures. Small, pocket-size frame has an opening with an elastic band. The band provides a guide for writing and flexes to allow for the descenders of letters.

Revised guide is made of durable, flexible plastic with the same rubber backing as before to prevent sliding. Measures 4 1/2" x 2 1/4". Recommended ages: 8 years and up.

Catalog Number: 1-03530-01
Click this link to purchase the APH Signature Guide <https://shop.aph.org/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/Product_APH%20Signature%20Guide_1-03530-01P_10001_11051>.

American Printing House for the Blind, Inc.
1839 Frankfort Avenue
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 6085
Louisville, Kentucky 40206-0085
Toll Free: 800-223-1839
Phone: 502-895-2405
Fax: 502-899-2274
E-mail: info@xxxxxxx <mailto:info@xxxxxxx>
Web site: http://www.aph.org
APH Shopping Home: http://shop.aph.org

A Bit About Braille <http://feedproxy.google.com/%7Er/FredsHeadCompanion/%7E3/OGklX4TeRWU/bit-about-braille.html>

Posted: 22 Apr 2009 11:57 AM PDT

Louis Braille

Here at the American Printing House for the Blind (APH), we frequently receive questions about braille and topics related to it. What follows is an attempt to answer many, if not most, of these questions and to give an overview of both the history of braille--and the means by which it is produced.

Braille is the raised dot system for reading and writing used by blind people all over the world. It takes its name from Louis Braille, its French inventor, who was born in the town of Couvray, France, in 1809. He was the son of a blacksmith.

At the age of three, he injured one of his eyes with an awl. (This is a sharp, pointed instrument used by blacksmiths and harness makers to punch holes in leather.) In time, Louis's other eye lost its sight through infection.

Braille's education began at home, where he was taught by a local priest who thought him to be very bright. In due time, he was sent to Paris to begin his formal education. There he studied at the Institute Valentine Hauy--a school named for its founder, who established it in 1784, five years before the French revolution.

Before Hauy, little or no attention was paid to educating blind people. How did Homer, the blind poet of ancient Greece, set his words to papyrus or parchment? Nobody knows for certain, but most likely, he dictated his words to scribes who wrote them down.

Those books used at the Institute Valentine Hauy were raised print books. Ordinary letters were stamped into paper, so their outlines could be felt. Reading by this method was slow; and because this "touchable printing" was done on large presses, the individual student could only read. He or she had no way of writing down his or her thoughts.

Some time after going to Paris, Louis Braille learned about a method of writing in the dark. Actually, this was a code developed by a French army major, Charles Barbier, that was made up of raised dots that formed letters and other expressions. Messages written in this code could be circulated to soldiers in the field at night.

As a military code, Barbier's night writing was a failure. However, it was the spark that set Braille to thinking about how the code could be adapted for use by the blind. Barbier's code was made up of a pattern of twelve dots. Braille reduced the number of dots in the pattern from twelve to six. Braille, as we know it today, still uses the six-dot pattern developed by Braille.

Every braille character, no matter the language in which it is written, is written in a unit of space called a "cell." The braille cell is two dots across and three dots high. This means that within a single braille cell, 64 possible combinations are possible, including the blank space.

The genius of Louis Braille's writing system is that it placed in the hands of blind people the means to write and read. The writing instrument he developed is much like those in use today for writing braille by hand. It is made of two metal plates that are hinged together. The front, or top plate, has rectangular windows cut into it. The back, or bottom plate, has little cups set out in patterns of two across and three high. In the United States, this part of the braille writing system is called a "slate." In Britain, it is called a "frame."

To use this device, paper is placed between the two plates of the slate and held in place by pins. The writer uses a small pointed object (much like the blacksmith's awl that blinded Braille) to press dots downward through the windows in the top plate into the cups in the bottom plate.

For convenience when teaching braille, each dot within the braille cell is numbered. To write braille, one writes in a right to left direction. One begins a line at the right end and works toward the left. The dots are pressed in a downward direction. Then, when writing is done, the sheet of paper is turned over and reading is done from left to right.

In the writing position, the three dots at the right half of the cell are numbered 1, 2 and 3 from top to bottom. Dots 4, 5 and 6 are the upper, middle and lowest dots in the left half of the cell. When the paper is turned over so it can be read, dots 1, 2 and 3 are on the left--and dots 4, 5 and 6 are on the right. While this may seem confusing, it is a system to which learners seem to adapt with relative ease.

Originally, because Braille was a musician, he designed his system to enable blind people to set down music scores. It was sometime later that he and his fellow students at the Institute Valentine became aware of its possibilities for ordinary writing. Despite this fact, braille did not become a main stream system; rather, it was discouraged by school authorities, which meant that those who were interested in learning it, had to study in secret after regular school hours. It was not until 1854--two years after Braille's death, that his system of raised dot reading and writing was adopted officially at his own school (where he eventually became a teacher)!

If you were to look at a sheet of text written in braille, it might seem like a meaningless jumble of dots. It would look nothing like raised printed letters. In fact, it is a very logical system. The letters a through j are written using the upper two thirds of the braille cell; that is dots 1, 2, 4 and 5. The letters k through t repeat this same pattern, except that dot 3 is added to each of the a through j letters to form the k through t set.

The letters u, v, x, y and z are the same as a, b, c, d and e--except that both dots 3 and 6 fill in the bottom of the cell. You might ask why does the letter w not fit in here? This is because the letter w didn't exist in French in Braille's time. It is found in position 40 in the chart of the order of dot patterns within the braille cell.

While braille is a logical system, it also is bulky. In "Standard English Braille," four braille characters take up one horizontal inch. Five lines of braille require two inches of vertical space. For this reason--and to place maximum information under the fingers of the braille reader--many languages have developed contracted forms of braille. In English, the system is called "Grade Two Braille" or "Braille Grade Two". With ordinary uncontracted braille, which is known as "Braille Grade One," the word "internationally" takes fifteen character spaces. In Braille Grade Two, this number is reduced to eight. In general, Braille Grade Two takes about 28-30% less space than does Braille Grade One.

Braille characters often have to do multiple duty. The letters a through j also serve as the digits for one through zero. When this is the intention, a symbol called a number sign is written in front of a letter, or group of letters, to show they don't stand for letters, but rather, that they are intended to be read as numbers. Take the number sign away from 3122175, for example, and you will have the word cabbage. Another symbol is used to show that the letter following it is a capital (upper case) letter.

Before the braille system of reading and writing made its way to the United States by the middle of the 19th century, raised print was used in this country. Boston Line Type was a form of this printing. In its museum, the American Printing House for the Blind (APH) has samples of this early form of writing that was used to produce schoolbooks for blind students.

The braille slate or frame has changed little in the past century and a half. Whereas a pen or pencil can be used to write on any size sheet of paper, braille slates and paper sizes are related. There is a slate designed to mark playing cards and another for 3 by 5 cards. There is a German slate that covers an entire page. Most slates are four lines wide--and from 19 to 41cells long.

In the mid-1800s, interest in the education of blind people had spread its way to this side of the Atlantic. From 1829 to 1831, schools to educate blind children were established in Boston, Philadelphia and New York. In about 1852, seven southern states began to pool their resources to provide text materials for the education of blind children. In 1858, the American Printing House for the Blind was established. It was based at the Kentucky Asylum for the Blind in Louisville, Kentucky.

During the Civil War, the education of blind people suffered along with other aspects of society. At war's end, reconstruction also saw a revival in the area--when a system of raised dot writing was introduced in this country. Cleverly, it was known as "American Braille." Meanwhile, at the New York Institute for the Blind, a system of dot writing called "New York Point" was developed. American Braille used Louis Braille's six-dot cell pattern, while New York Point was based on a pattern that was two dots high, but of variable length (usually up to eight).

Until the early 1890s, braille was written either on a slate--or produced by huge presses that were located at the Perkins School for the Blind in Boston, Massachusetts--or at the American Printing House for the Blind in Louisville, Kentucky. In 1892, Frank Hall, superintendent of the Illinois School for the Blind, invented the Hall Braillewriter. This machine resembled a typewriter--in that it had a moving carriage that traveled along in a right to left direction as braille was written.

With this machine and its successor, the Perkins Brailler (1952), braille dots were pressed upward from the under side of the page. The braillewriter had seven keys for writing-- six keys to produce the individual dots, and a space key. Keys were arranged in a straight line with keys for dots 1, 2 and 3 going outward to the left of the space key. The keys for dots 4, 5 and 6 were to the right of the space key. With the braillewriter, dots for a single letter or other characters were pressed all at once; whereas, with the braille slate, each dot was pressed individually. So, the braille slate can be thought of as a braille pencil, while the braillewriter is more like a braille typewriter.

In the early part of the 20th century, much of the braille read by blind school children was produced on presses--or transcribed by hand by volunteer braille transcribers. These dedicated individuals often used braille slates to produce their work. Shellac was applied to the backside of pages to strengthen the dots and prevent early wear.

With the coming of the smaller, lighter Perkins Brailler in 1952, much braille was produced by transcribing groups located throughout the country. For a time, the work of a transcriber was limited to a single copy. Then, in the mid-1950s, the THERMOFORM machine was developed.

To use this machine, a sheet of paper is first placed into the thermoform chamber. A sheet of special plastic, called "brailon," is laid on top of the paper sheet. Then, air is pumped out of the chamber and heat is applied. The plastic softens and forms a tight skin over the paper master copy. So close is this fit that the plastic sheet becomes a copy of the master. With this machine, a transcriber could produce a master copy which could be multiplied twenty or thirty times.

In 1968, IBM Corporation introduced its Braille Electric Typewriter. This machine was a typewriter with a full keyboard. With it, a typist with no knowledge of braille was able to produce perfectly readable braille copy in Braille Grade One. The machine itself was capable of producing Grade Two Braille, but to do so, the typist must know which keys to press to produce the special contraction symbols. The Braille Electric Typewriter was a break through in communication; however, it did not last very long. By the late-1970s, it was replaced by computer-driven equipment.

In the 1960s, IBM and the American Printing House for the Blind teamed up to use computer power to produce braille textbooks. The actual dots-on-paper part of the operation still was done with large presses. At about this same time, line embossing devices were being introduced. These were relatively fast braille printers that could emboss 120 lines of text in a minute.

In the late 1970s and early 1980s, home computers emerged--and it was just a matter of time before someone produced computer software capable of translating text typed into a computer into Braille Grade Two. The job of translation software is to examine a block of text and rearrange it into those symbols needed for Braille Grade Two. Earlier, we considered the word "internationally" and its Grade Two equivalent. The job of the translation software was to examine the word "internationally" and change it into "9that}n,n,y".

If the home computer was to be used for the production of braille, a missing link had to be forged in the 'braille chain.' That link would become a small, low volume, slow speed personal braille embosser. In 1981, T. V. Cranmer, Director of the Technical Services Unit of the Kentucky Department for the Blind, undertook the development of a modified Perkins Braillewriter that could respond to signals from a computer. The engineering of this work was begun by Taylor Davidson and completed by Wayne Thompson. The success of this effort caused many commercial manufacturers to produce personal braille printers of their own.

Meanwhile, during the 1970s, work was being done on transitory or refreshable displays. To this point, we have been talking about braille dots on paper. Such braille is static--or frozen--if you will. The raised dots on paper to be read by touch compare, in effect, to ink marks on paper to be read by sight.

Transitory or refreshable braille is formed by having pins, or the ends of reeds, pop up in the patterns of braille characters. When a block of text is read, a signal is sent that causes it to disappear and to be replaced by another block of text. This signal can be the press of a button--or a signal from a computer. Again, if you will, the pins that pop up to form refreshable braille characters can be likened to the pixels on a computer screen which change as needed.

In the late 1970s and early 80s, the VersaBraille was a commercial product equipped with a refreshable braille display. Its seven key keyboard was like that of a braillewriter. It used audiocassettes to store data. The equivalent of 200 pages of braille could be stored on a single, 60-minute cassette.

Within a year of the development of the Kentucky Modified Perkins Brailler, the Kentucky Department for the Blind began development of a device called the Kentucky PortaBraille. This device was an outgrowth of the electronic circuitry of the modified Perkins Brailler. Fred Gissoni, who took charge of Kentucky's Technology Service Unit after succeeding T. V. Cranmer, developed the concepts and keyboard command structure for the devise; and Wayne Thompson did the engineering for the project. In turn, these Kentucky prototypes led to the development of small, light, and compact note-taking equipment such as the Braille 'n Speak, the Type 'n Speak and the Braille Lite--with all being quite powerful despite their small size.

With devices such as these, blind people can use braille writing skills to do school homework, write letters, lists, recipes, send and receive e-mail, write computer programs and much more. Though the nature of braille will probably change in the years ahead, it still offers a powerful tool to educate and inform blind people. And while its form may change from paper to refreshable braille, it still relies on the six-dot pattern developed by Louis Braille more than 150 years ago.

I'm going to give a presentation on how to read braille. Do you know of anything I could use as handouts?


       APH Alphabet Card Folder

APH Alphabet Card Folder (50-pack)

Designed to raise the awareness of braille among print readers, this card displays the braille alphabet, a sample of large type, and provides a brief history of APH. Folds in half vertically. Sold in packs of fifty. As an educational service, up to five individual cards are available free on request by phone. Note: Not available on Quota.

Catalog Number: 1-04000-01
Click this link to purchase the APH Alphabet Card Folder (50-pack) <http://shop.aph.org/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/Product_APH%20Alphabet%20Card%20Folder%20%2850-pack%29_1-04000-01P_10001_11051>.


       Braille Alphabet and Numbers Card

Braille Alphabet and Numbers Cards

Intended to increase the awareness of braille among print readers, this card presents the alphabet, numbers, and limited punctuation signs in braille and in regular type. A simple sentence in uncontracted braille is included, allowing for translation practice. 100 per package. Not available free. Note: Not available on Quota.

Catalog Number: 1-04020-00
Click this link to purchase the Braille Alphabet and Numbers Cards <https://shop.aph.org/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ProductDisplay?storeId=10001&catalogId=11051&krypto=w%2FE%2FZ6s4BbPWrvdsJEOQwkQGsjTfiG1uEGz1M4FNNdcSwJ5hu4lF5SVt%2BsplbislD09WlLpqs5%2Bs%0D%0AiM1cK2Pj9JGjfKS07suBHUQNVc5AQ4boixclN3Zarg%3D%3D&ddkey=http:ProductDisplay>.


       Braille Contraction Sheets

Braille Contraction Sheets

Pamphlet contains many of the common English braille contractions, including word signs, short-form words, punctuation, and composition signs. As an educational service, one print and one braille version are available free on request by phone. Additional copies are sold individually.

Print:
Catalog Number: 7-35960-00

Braille:
Catalog Number: 5-35960-00
Click this link to purchase the Braille Contraction Sheets <https://shop.aph.org/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/Product_Braille%20Contraction%20Sheets:%20Print_1096180P_10001_11051>.

American Printing House for the Blind, Inc.
1839 Frankfort Avenue
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 6085
Louisville, Kentucky 40206-0085
Toll Free: 800-223-1839
Phone: 502-895-2405
Fax: 502-899-2274
E-mail: info@xxxxxxx <mailto:info@xxxxxxx>
Web site: http://www.aph.org
APH Shopping Home: http://shop.aph.org

Demonstrate Braille With Cards From APH <http://feedproxy.google.com/%7Er/FredsHeadCompanion/%7E3/XhKOhsn9wjM/demonstrate-braille-with-cards-from.html>

Posted: 22 Apr 2009 11:58 AM PDT

I'm going to give a presentation on how to read braille. Do you know of anything I could use as handouts?


       APH Alphabet Card Folder

. APH Alphabet Card Folder (50-pack)

Designed to raise the awareness of braille among print readers, this card displays the braille alphabet, a sample of large type, and provides a brief history of APH. Folds in half vertically. Sold in packs of fifty. As an educational service, up to five individual cards are available free on request by phone. Note: Not available on Quota.

Catalog Number: 1-04000-01
Click this link to purchase the APH Alphabet Card Folder (50-pack) <http://shop.aph.org/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/Product_APH%20Alphabet%20Card%20Folder%20%2850-pack%29_1-04000-01P_10001_11051>.


       Braille Alphabet and Numbers Card

Braille Alphabet and Numbers Cards

Intended to increase the awareness of braille among print readers, this card presents the alphabet, numbers, and limited punctuation signs in braille and in regular type. A simple sentence in uncontracted braille is included, allowing for translation practice. 100 per package. Not available free. Note: Not available on Quota.

Catalog Number: 1-04020-00
Click this link to purchase the Braille Alphabet and Numbers Cards <https://shop.aph.org/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ProductDisplay?storeId=10001&catalogId=11051&krypto=w%2FE%2FZ6s4BbPWrvdsJEOQwkQGsjTfiG1uEGz1M4FNNdcSwJ5hu4lF5SVt%2BsplbislD09WlLpqs5%2Bs%0D%0AiM1cK2Pj9JGjfKS07suBHUQNVc5AQ4boixclN3Zarg%3D%3D&ddkey=http:ProductDisplay>.


       Braille Contraction Sheets

Braille Contraction Sheets

Pamphlet contains many of the common English braille contractions, including word signs, short-form words, punctuation, and composition signs. As an educational service, one print and one braille version are available free on request by phone. Additional copies are sold individually.

Print:
Catalog Number: 7-35960-00

Braille:
Catalog Number: 5-35960-00
Click this link to purchase the Braille Contraction Sheets <https://shop.aph.org/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/Product_Braille%20Contraction%20Sheets:%20Print_1096180P_10001_11051>.

American Printing House for the Blind, Inc.
1839 Frankfort Avenue
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 6085
Louisville, Kentucky 40206-0085
Toll Free: 800-223-1839
Phone: 502-895-2405
Fax: 502-899-2274
E-mail: info@xxxxxxx <mailto:info@xxxxxxx>
Web site: http://www.aph.org
APH Shopping Home: http://shop.aph.org

ALL-IN-ONE Board (Magnetic, Velcro, Dry Erase) <http://feedproxy.google.com/%7Er/FredsHeadCompanion/%7E3/ImjTtg84Hng/all-in-one-board-magnetic-velcro-dry.html>

Posted: 22 Apr 2009 11:59 AM PDT

All-in-One board, dry erase/magnetic side All-in-One board, Velcro side

APH's ALL-IN-ONE Board (Magnetic, Velcro®, Dry Erase) is intended for classroom use with students of all ages. This multi-platform, easily-adjustable board can be used in combination with either hook-Velcro accessories or magnetic pieces (homemade, obtained from APH, or purchased commercially), as well as with dry erase markers to facilitate a variety of learning activities. The ALL-IN-ONE Board can be positioned at a variety of angles, from nearly flat to fully upright. Target populations include young children, students, and adults with visual impairments, as well as parents and teachers working with these populations.

The ALL-IN-ONE Board can be stored and carried in the included carrying-case. A starter package of dry erase markers is included, as well as a Product Information Sheet and recommended Cleaning/Care Instructions, in both print and braille.

Catalog Number: 1-08836-00 Click this link to purchase an ALL-IN-ONE Board <https://shop.aph.org/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/Product_All-In-One%20Board%20%28Magnetic,%20Velcro,%20Dry%20Erase%29_1-08836-00P_10001_11051>.

American Printing House for the Blind, Inc.
1839 Frankfort Avenue
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 6085
Louisville, Kentucky 40206-0085
Toll Free: 800-223-1839
Phone: 502-895-2405
Fax: 502-899-2274
E-mail: info@xxxxxxx <mailto:info@xxxxxxx>
Web site: http://www.aph.org
APH Shopping Home: http://shop.aph.org

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