American Printing House for the Blind (APH) is the world’s largest nonprofit organization creating educational, workplace, and independent living products and services for people who are blind and visually impaired.

Founded in 1858 in Louisville, Kentucky, APH is the oldest organization of its kind in the United States. From 1858 until the Civil War began, APH organized its operation and raised funds to create embossed books. After the war, APH resumed operations and produced its first tactile books. By the early 1870s, APH was operating on a national scale.
APH received a federal mandate in 1879 when the Congress of the United States passed the Act to Promote the Education of the Blind. This act designates APH as the official supplier of educational materials to all students in the U.S. who meet the definition of blindness and are working at less than college level.


APH Picture

Original American Printing House for the Blind building in Louisville, Kentucky

What is available through Federal Quota?


A wide variety of specially designed and adapted materials are available from APH… core curriculum materials for teaching reading, social studies, mathematics, and science…materials for assessing and improving the use of low vision…expanded core curriculum materials for cultivating emergent literacy and concept development…for facilitating sensory, motor, and perceptual development, for developing self-help and prevocational skills. Other examples of available research-based materials are braille teaching programs, talking computer software, low vision development programs, infant intervention materials, and motor skills improvement kits.


Educational tools include adapted audio recording equipment, devices for writing braille, and talking computer hardware. Special supplies such as bold-line papers, special binders and notebooks, and other consumable materials used in the classroom are also available.


New and adapted materials are developed at APH by the Department of Educational and Technical Research. Formed in 1952, the Research Department conducts ongoing basic and applied research which results in the development of new products and in the improvement or adaptation of existing products needed by the field.

The demand for specific products is determined by needs assessments based on input from consumers, teachers, Ex Officio Trustees, and other professionals in the field. These assessments actively monitor needs in various areas of curriculum and skills development. They assess the requirements of the a diverse student population — from infants and preschoolers to adventitiously blinded senior citizens.


The identification of a needed product that is not commercially available leads to research that develops a prototype of the item and to field testing that refines its effectiveness and safety. From the research department, the product is manufactured and inventoried for sale.

The CIMC manages the Federal Quota accounts for the Colorado Department of Education. The CIMC will provide necessary instructional products and technology that is available from APH for students eligible for the Federal Quota Program*. In order for the CIMC to remain fiscally responsible, CDE, CIMC and Directors of Special Education have agreed that some consumable APH products will be limited to one per student eligible for the Federal Quota Program* per school year. This decision allows for the equitable distribution of APH products to all Colorado Administrative Units (AUs) and school districts. 


The CIMC requests that all APH technology items be returned at the end of every school year in order for inventory, maintenance and software updates to be performed.


 *students eligible for the Federal Quota Program = Students must (1) be registered with the CIMC and (2) have qualifying eye health exam information from an optometrist/ophthalmologist or neurologist on file in the district of attendance, verifying eligibility of Meets the Definition of Blindness (MDB), or Functions at the Definition of Blindness (FDB). The eye report must be no older than three years from the date of the order.


Please remember to always use the current version of all forms.

2020-2021 APH Order Form (in Word format)

2020-2021 APH Order Form (in plain text format)

KLAS numbers for Administrative Units

Order form specifically for Braillers, APH technology and APH Software products:

2020-2021 Brailler, Technology, and Software Order Form


 APH link for downloadable manuals

Some APH products have downloadable manuals available on their website. Before ordering any APH product manuals please visit the link.