Braille Music

Braille Music

I had to chuckle when I read this ECard.
“It’s hard to write music in braille.”
Who ever wrote this card probably doesn’t know the half of it, seeing as how music braille is its own code.


Reading Vows in Braille

Reading Vows in Braille

I love the hot pink card stock used for her vows. Beautiful picture.

The person in the photo is Deja Marie Powell and she wrote the following yesterday, on her Facebook page.

For some reason (unknown to me) this photo has been circulating the web today (in honor of Meet the Blind Month I suspect), and has captured my heart once again. This singular image tells a BIG story which I hope you don’t mind me sharing…
This is me reading my vows on my wedding day. I am also wearing a Live Strong bracelet on my right wrist in honor of my hero, my dad, who I lost to brain cancer. The tiny ring on my right pinky finger is my mom’s wedding ring from my dad. The braille however, was the best gift of all. I grew up blind but was never taught braille, I was basically illiterate until age 23. My dad, in the last days of his life, made me promise to go get blindness training, which included his desire for me to learn braille. I did just that and was able to read my vows to my husband, a recent Iraqi war veteran, and although my hands trembled and I sobbed, I read slowly and methodically and was able to pour my heart out to the second man who showed me what I was worth (my husband). This photo captures such a precious moment in my life, but also expresses how important braille literacy is…and was the most important braille document I’ve read to date. (P.S. What’s not showing is my hot pink cane to match). Photo credit to:Donna Young

Got Cane?

A group of people with canes walking outside.

Did you know your student may receive a free straight cane as often as every six months? The National Federation for the Blind has a Free White Cane Program. This is a great way to put those writing skills to the test. Have your student complete the application form and become self-sufficient for one piece of necessary equipment.

Find out more at:

UEB Charts

Here are two print UEB symbol list charts that I have seen. Both are pdf and best if printed on 11″ x 17” paper.

The first is from Duxbury and lists the contractions and short forms in alphabetical order:
The other is from Aroga Technologies and presents the contractions and symbols by category:
Hope this is helpful to people! Please share this with the teachers you know, and people in other states, and your friends and family . . .

Sports Camps for the Visually Impaired

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Time to start planning for camps in the summer! Share the below link with your parents so they might know all of the options out there!

Teaching Children who are Blind or Visually Impaired and/or Providing Orientation and Mobility Services for Those Children

Northern Illinois University (DeKalb, Illinois) offers a nationally regarded program at the graduate level for individuals who wish to join a rewarding career in teaching children who are blind or visually impaired. Teachers of students who are visually disabled generally travel from school to school working with the students on a one-to-one basis. The vast majority of students who are visually disabled attend their local schools with their sighted peers in the same classrooms as their sighted friends. The special education teachers who provide instruction for children who are blind or visually impaired work with their regular classroom teachers to insure that the youngsters receive the best and most appropriate education designed for them. There is an overwhelming need for these teachers. As a consequence, there are many job opportunities in all regions of the United States. Individuals who choose this career path can anticipate having no difficulty obtaining life-long employment with great job security! In addition to numerous job opportunities, good pay, and excellent job security, individuals who choose this career path experience a sense of fulfillment not commonly found in other careers. These teachers play a significant role in the lives of youngsters who are blind and their families.

Generous student financial assistance is available. They will pay all instate or out-of-state tuition, all fees, health insurance, and a stipend of $5,200 per calendar year for qualified individuals who wish to come to Northern Illinois University to enroll in the graduate program focusing on special education for children who are blind or visually impaired. For more information, go to the following web site to read about the program.
Also, go to the following Youtube links

Interested individuals can contact the project director, Gaylen Kapperman, at the following e-mail:
Or by calling 815-753-8453

Admissions requirements are as follows:
Online application with a fee of $40
GRE scores of 30%tile verbal and 30%tile quantitative ($160 fee)
Official transcripts of all previous academic work
GPA of 2.8
ACT score of 22 or successful completion of the Test of Academic Proficiency (TAP)
Three letters of recommendation
Personal statement
The link to the online application process for the Graduate School can be found on the page,

This is not an online program. All courses except for student teaching and the orientation and mobility internship are taken on campus in DeKalb, Illinois, the home of Northern Illinois University.

Depending on the credentials held by a program applicant, a master’s degree and eligibility for licensure for teaching children who are blind or visually impaired, or a master’s degree and eligibility for national certification as an orientation and mobility specialist, may be completed in 16 months. A master’s degree and completion of both programs (dual certification), resulting in eligibility for licensure as a teacher of students who are blind or visually impaired and eligibility for national certification as an orientation and mobility specialist, may be completed in 22 months; we encourage applicants to consider dual certification because this will result in increased employment opportunities post-graduation. Each of the 3 alternatives may require an additional  summer session if certain foundation courses have to be completed. The credentials of potential applicants can be reviewed to determine the length of the program of study.

Students progress through the program in cohorts. Each cohort begins in the fall of each academic year. Our deadline for receipt of applications is June 15 of each year. The generous financial assistance is awarded on a first come, first served basis to qualified applicants.

The Summers-only Orientation and Mobility Component

If you are currently certified as a Teacher of Students with Visual Disabilities (TVI) or as a Vision Rehabilitation Therapist (CVRT), you may be eligible to study in a summers-only program which will allow you to obtain a master’s degree and certification in Orientation & Mobility without an interruption in employment!

This once-in-a-lifetime opportunity includes full tuition, fees, and an $800 per summer stipend. On-campus courses will take place during the summers of 2015, 2016, and 2017. A full time, 12-week internship will be completed during the summer of 2018, at any approved site in the contiguous 48 states. This package is worth $16,000 for Illinois residents; $25,000 for out-of-state students!

Act now if you are interested! This will not be a continual offering; this is a one-time cohort opportunity based on federal funding.

Application deadline: MARCH 15, 2015
For additional information on the NIU Visual Disabilities Program, please visit our website:

For the online Graduate School application, please visit the NIU Graduate School Admissions website:

This program is a one-time only opportunity open to certified TVIs and CVRTs. It is designed to enable professionals in the visual disabilities field to earn credentials in the area of Orientation and Mobility without an interruption in employment as teachers.

Funding is available for 6 of the cohort participants to be awarded graduate assistantships which will pay in-state or out-of-state tuition, fees, and a stipend of $800 for each of the 4 summers of this program. The graduate assistantships will be awarded on a competitive basis (combination of undergrad GPA, GRE scores, recommendations, etc.). There will be more than 6 spots available in the cohort, but only money enough to provide support for 6 students.

Many school systems, however, have a tuition support program available for their employees, so this should help tremendously with financing for anyone who wants to participate but isn’t funded by the grant. Also, most salary schedules have incremental pay increases for coursework, so this should help, also.

In order to be awarded a graduate assistantship, students must be fully admitted to The Graduate School at NIU. Admission requirements include:

– A bachelor’s degree from an accredited 4-year institution with a minimum 2.8 grade point average on a 4.0 scale
– A passing score on the Graduate Record Exam General Test (verbal and quantitative); and
– 3 letters of recommendation
– In addition, admission to this particular cohort requires evidence of current certification in the visual disabilities area, either as a TVI or as a CVRT.

The application process is started with submission of the actual application and a $40 application fee. This can be accomplished online at the following website: . Other supporting documents (transcripts, official GRE scores, letters of recommendation, and copies of certificates) may be submitted (to the graduate school admissions office, NOT to the vision program!) after the actual application.

Be sure to notify Gaylen Kapperman ( ) of your intent to apply as soon as the decision is made to ensure that your name is included in the pool of candidates!

Cohort participants will complete the program in August of 2018, and will be eligible for ACVREP certification as a Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialist (COMS) and will be awarded the Master of Science in Education (M.S.Ed.) degree.

Accessible Online Nemeth Tutorial Now Available!

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The Nemeth Code of Mathematics makes reading and writing complex math expressions in braille feasible. Unfortunately, learning to read and write the Nemeth Code requires extra effort beyond the effort to learn to read and write the standard literary braille codes.

Gaylen Kapperman and Jodi Sticken of Research and Development Institute (RDI) addressed the challenge of learning the Nemeth Code when they and colleagues created the original computer-based tutorial in 1997. The tutorial provided the rules in a logical order and gave the student plenty of examples and exercises.

Now, APH and RDI, with a grant from the U.S. Department of Education National Institute on Disability Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR), have created a universally accessible version of the tutorial that runs on any device connected to the Internet. The Nemeth code tutorial is currently available at no cost at the following address:

The tutorial looks great for sighted users and shows the braille in a font that does not require additional downloads—it just works! The tutorial supports six-key entry mode, so you may interact with the exercises with a typical QWERTY keyboard, simulating a braille keyboard layout.

For blind users, screen reader support with the latest ARIA-enriched content notifications provide interactive feedback for the exercises and a refreshable braille display correctly shows the Nemeth portions, no matter how the screen reader’s translation tables are configured. This means that as a blind user, you can let the screen reader translate the explanatory portions in the kind of braille you prefer and still get accurate Nemeth representations.

Members of the development team included:

  • Gaylen Kapperman, RDI, Project Director
  • Jodi Sticken, RDI, Research Associate
  • Shannon Pruitt, RDI, Content Specialist
  • Larry Skutchan, APH, Director of Technology Product Research
  • Michael McDonald, APH, Programmer III, Technology Product Research
  • Ken Perry, APH, Programmer III, Technology Product Research
  • Cathy Senft-Graves, APH, Braille Literacy and Technology Project Leader, Educational Product Research

This project was supported by funds from Federal Grant No. H133G110122. No comments, judgments, or opinions found within any product of this federally funded project are those of the U.S. Department of Education or any other unit of the federal government; they are solely those of the individuals involved in the project.

** Taken from the APH Newsletter January 2015