Getting more Braille onto University Campuses

Handouts Media

Presented at 11:15am in Virtual D on Thursday, November 19, 2020.



  • Jim Sullivan, Director Social Enterprise, American Printing House for the Blind
  • William Freeman, Quality Assurance Tester, American Printing House for the Blind

Session Details

  • Length of Session: 45 minutes
  • Format: Lecture
  • Expertise Level: Beginner
  • Type of session: Pre-conference


Embossing can be hard, but it doesn't have to be! Enter BrailleBlaster, PixBlaster, and PageBlaster. Three solutions from APH! Join us at this informational session, where we'll introduce you to these solutions so you can make braille for years to come. Together we will continue to knock down barriers to braille access!


Reading is uniquely human and creates an intimate bond between the mind and the text. It assists in recall and general learning, and those, in turn, increase success in school, the workplace, and the world at large. For this reason, students who are blind must have access to as much braille as possible.

There are many obstacles to getting braille into the hands of students. Braille transcription is hard work, and there are many rules about formatting text. Additionally, braille transcription software and hardware are expensive and can be challenging to use. What to do to get more braille onto university campuses?

The American Printing House for the Blind has taken steps to ensure that solutions are available. The session will highlight BrailleBlaster, a free braille transcription program designed to address braille formatting rules automatically. It will also showcase two new embossers from APH, PixBlaster, and PageBlaster.


  1. Access to braille in university settings is critical to student success.
  2. Braille transcription tools are often expensive and challenging to use.
  3. Universities often have a need to create braille quickly to meet the need of students.

Disability Areas


Topic Areas

Accessible Educational Materials, Assistive Technology, Uncategorized

Speaker Bio(s)

Jim Sullivan

Jim Sullivan is the Director of Social Enterprise for the American Printing House for the Blind. Joining the team in the spring of 2020, Jim directs activities to expand access to APH solutions in education and professional settings. He has worked in the assistive technology space since 1999 for companies such as HumanWare, TextHelp, and Kurzweil Education Systems. He completed a Master's of Education in Rehabilitation Counseling in 1994. Jim currently resides in Hudson, OH, with his wife Mary and their three children.

William Freeman

William Freeman is a certified braille transcriber and quality assurance tester at the American Printing House for the Blind. He is passionate about literacy in all forms and believes that no one should be deprived of reading materials in the medium that they prefer. He also believes that accessibility should be a primary concern in design and not an afterthought. He is a graduate of Berea College with a degree in English Writing. He currently lives in Louisville, Kentucky with his wife and dogs and spends his time hiking, writing, and complaining about user interfaces.