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American Printing House for the Blind FAQs

What is the American Printing House for the Blind (APH) and how does it help students who are blind?

The APH was established in 1858 as a service to support blind and visually impaired students across the United States. Federal dollars have been provided by congress annually since the passing of the Act to Promote the Education of the Blind in 1879 to fund materials exclusively for students who qualify as legally blind. The services include textbooks, products, and devices used by the blind for literacy, mobility, and independent access to the community and educational offerings. Additional information can be found on APH External link opens in new window or tab..

How do I get students to qualify as legally blind and receive Federal Quota Funds?

Students are annually registered for the APH census based on being enrolled in a public or private school program on the first Monday in January. Each year registration packets are distributed statewide to register new students and update information on continuing students. It is important to remove students who are no longer enrolled in a program or students who no longer qualify.

Legal blindness as defined by the APH is divided into two categories:

Meets the Definition of Blindness (MDB): Central visual acuity of 20/200 or less in the better eye with best correction; or a peripheral field so contracted that the widest diameter of such field subtends an angular distance no greater than 20 degrees.

Functions at the Definition of Blindness (FDB): Visual performance reduced by a brain injury or dysfunction that meets the definition of blindness as determined by an eye specialist or neurologist.

Registration requires that an ophthalmologist validate visual acuity every three years. The registering public or private school must be a formally organized public or private nonprofit educational agency, with students working at less than college level. The APH certifies the number of qualifying students in each state and allocates the amount per student approved by Congress.

Who can order American Printing House for the Blind (APH) products?

Only persons authorized by a public or private school can order APH products. The names of these individuals must appear on the form; APH Federal Quota Orders Authorization List, a part of the annual packet to register students who are legally blind (available on the CDE CSMT Web site). Prior to ordering the first time, the authorized person must submit a New Account Form to order materials from the Instructional Materials Ordering and Distribution System (IMODS). The lead on the account, usually the special education director or program specialist, can authorize new members.

How do I know if I can order APH products and books?

It is the responsibility of the authorizing agency to approve members from their organization to submit federal quota orders for textbooks (regular account for public schools) and/or for APH products and books. If you do not know who the agency-authorized officer is, contact James Morrison, CSMT Associate Governmental Program Analyst, by phone at 916-323-1329 or by e-mail at, or Kelli Cornejo, Manager, CSMT Production & Materials Support, by phone at 916-323-4737 or by e-mail at

What APH products, books, and electronic files can be ordered on the IMODS?

APH External link opens in new window or tab. products, books, and electronic files can be found on the APH Web site, Shop APH External link opens in new window or tab. Web page. Products can be ordered from IMODS using your federal quota allocation.

What is the ordering process?

To order APH products, books, and electronic files you must first register as an IMODS user by completing the IMODS Member Registration Form located on the CDE IMODS Web page. After registering, CSMT staff will determine if you qualify, and you will receive an e-mail with your username and password. Once you have the login information, go to the Media Ordering Guide, log on, search, and order. Your APH allocation will automatically be deducted based on the items you order. The items will be shipped to the address you chose when confirming the IMODS order.

What should I do when I cannot find an item on IMODS that is available from the APH or on the Louis database?

Contact Steven Parker, CSMT Staff Services Analyst, by phone at 916-327-0224 or by e-mail at CSMT staff will build a record so that you can order the items you need for your students.

How many APH items can I place in the shopping cart for one order?

Please limit yourself to 20 different items per order. We would appreciate if you would keep items in your cart for a week, and then submit the order to save on order processing time. If you have questions about ordering, please contact James Morrison, CSMT Associate Governmental Program Analyst, by phone at 916-323-1329 or by e-mail at You may also contact Kelli Cornejo, Manager, CSMT Production & Materials Support, by phone at 916-323-4737 or by e-mail at .

What if IMODS doesn't have the APH product I need?

The APH products, available through Federal Quota Program funding, are found in IMODS by entering the catalog number in the search box. If you find an APH product that is not listed in IMODS, please send an e-mail to with the catalog number and the name of the item and request that it be added.

How long will it take to receive APH materials?

After your purchase order is processed, it may take several weeks to receive all items on your order. Delivery of materials is based on the availability of the item at the APH and whether it has to be produced or simply shipped out.

Can I Download APH files?

Yes, the CSMT currently has APH electronic resource files available on IMODS for download. Enter the APH catalog number (e.g. E-00062-TF). Follow procedures to download the file on your computer. Only APH authorized-users have access to these electronic files.

Last Reviewed: Friday, January 24, 2014

Questions: Clearinghouse for Specialized Media and Translations | | 916-445-5103

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