Published September 16, 2008
Volume 16, Number 9

Exceptional Teaching Founder Receives Posthumous Honor as Company Continues Growth

Helene Holman, left, and Susan Taylor offer tools for special

By Nicole Zaro Stahl

The accomplishments of the late founder of Exceptional Teaching, 5673 W. Las Positas Blvd., Suite 207, will be honored in early October as Sally Mangold, Ph.D., is inducted into the Hall of Fame for Leaders and Legends of the Blindness Field, in Louisville, Ky. Curated by the American Printing House for the Blind, a large non-profit provider of “accessible educational and daily living products,” the Hall of Fame this year is adding just two professionals to its roster of 40 luminaries who have made significant contributions to the field over the past century. Its first inductee was the world-renowned Helen Keller.

Dr. Mangold is remembered as “a passionate proponent and champion” of braille literacy throughout a long career of teaching blind and visually impaired students and training their teachers. She is best known for the “Mangold Developmental Program of Tactile Perception and Braille Letter Recognition,” a landmark braille reading program that has been translated into seven languages and used around the world. She also developed the Speech Assisted Learning (SAL) System, an audio-equipped braille learning device, under a grant from the National Science Foundation.

Her legacy lives on in the business she established with her husband, Phil Mangold, in 1974. Initially providing products for blind and visually impaired children and adults, over the years Exceptional Teaching increased its offerings to serve a wider range of special learning needs. In 2005, shortly before Dr. Mangold’s death, Helene Holman and her husband bought the company, with Helene taking over as president. Holman had started with Exceptional Teaching eight years previously to help on grant applications and since her arrival her role—and her commitment—have steadily expanded.

The past few years under Holman’s leadership have seen the introduction of SAL2, next-generation braille literacy courseware that runs on the TTT (Talking Tactile Tablet), a device developed by partner Touch Graphics, Inc. “The SAL2 system has been on the market for two years now, and it is really starting to take off,” Holman enthuses. “We’re designing new coursework for that product. We already sell it internationally, in Canada and the U.K., but now our partner in New York, which makes the hardware tablet, is looking to expand into the European market.”

SAL2 is not the only recent innovation. This summer the company set up a new on-site Learning Center to host a series of supplemental classes incorporating a multi-sensory approach to reading. The Beginning Reading Camp targets children entering Kindergarten, while the Summer Reading Camp is designed for first- through third-graders. Another group, Braille Camp, includes sessions at SAL2 Workstations led by a credentialed teacher of the visually impaired.

Exceptional Teaching also carries a wide assortment of educational games and toys, motivational reading games, and teaching and living aids for those with special needs and learning disabilities. The full gamut of products, from simple anti-roll crayons to Mangold exclusives like raised-line coloring books, can be viewed online at www.exceptionalteaching.com. For information on the Learning Center, call Holman at (925) 598 0082, x. 101. 

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