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Visioneers World Access For The Blind Social Media Highlights

4 Stages of cane acceptance. Do you share Girl Gone Blind's experience. Image: Woman poses for photo while using her white cane in a building elevator lobby.

“RAISING CANE” ABOUT CANE ACCEPTANCE AND EARLY INTERVENTION

90 percent of a child’s brain development occurs before the age of 5. The Center for the Developing Child at Harvard University says “Early experiences affect how the brain develops, shaping how children learn, behave and grow.”

Did you know that in some countries, children born blind aren’t allowed to use a navigation cane until around the ages of 7 or 8? And that includes so-called “developed” countries. Do you even realize how much precious opportunity is lost in that time?  That’s part of the reason blind children are sometimes slower to develop language skills and other social-development skills than their sighted peers. There are no valid reasons for this to happen, and it’s usually the result of outdated thinking or individuals and/or organizations being territorial about their “dominion”.

Learn more about Lead Visioneer Daniel Kish’s pioneering research and development related to the benefits of Early Childhood Intervention on our Personal Visioneering page.

Another factor in the importance of cane use is the acceptance of it, especially by sighted persons who become blind. There is a widespread stigma attached to it, and the reasons seem to be pretty common. We came across a post by “Girl Gone Blind” blogger Maria Johnson, that addresses this very issue.

Maria has also collected other viewpoints on the white cane from other blind bloggers such as Eric J. Harvey,  Sassy Wyatt,  and Stephanae McCoy.

Lead Visioneer Daniel Kish can relate to the issues each of those persons raise in their blogs, and you can read his take on it at our Facebook Page, and check out some related articles below.

Related Articles:

Personal Visioneering.Image: Photo shows Lead Visioneer Daniel Kish working with Junior Visioneer Nathan as they walk through a park along with Nathan's mother.

What It Means to Walk with a White Cane
Braille Monitor, National Federation of the Blind – February, 2007
by Chris Danielsen

A Perception Basis for Cane Length Considerations
AER Report – Spring, 2009
by Daniel Kish
Reports a new way, based in perceptual theory and long practice, to determine cane length that is found to be especially helpful for children.

Canes Mean Freedom
Insight Magazine, United Kingdom – July & September, 2010
by Daniel Kish
Parts I and II of this article discuss the critical importance of early cane training for blind infants, toddlers, and preschoolers. The theoretical framework
is discussed, and some principals of implementation are outlined.

FlashSonar: Understanding and Applying Sonar Imaging to Mobility
Future Reflections, National Federation of the Blind – March, 2011
by Daniel Kish
An invited article by Daniel Kish about how we teach FlashSonar to bring mobility to new levels.

Echolocation and Flash Sonar
Daniel Kish
Jo Hook
Published by American Printing House for the Blind

Visioneers Facebook Module: New Echolocation Results from our co-authoired study with Durham University. Image: Screen photo of the Royal Society Publishing web page with the headline Proceedings of the Royal Society B,and summaries of the authors of the study above a graphics layout of MRI scans of the brain showing the Visual Cortex lighting up in response to the echo of a tongue click.

DISCOVERING THE SUBTLETIES IN HUMAN ECHOLOCATION

There are fascinating updated results from the study that WAFTB President and Lead Visioneer Daniel Kish has been co-authoring with Dr. Lore Thaler and others via Durham University in Great Britain. They may not be that surprising to Daniel and other blind people that we’ve taught our FlashSonar specialized form of echolocation to.

Daniel and some of our Instructor Visioneers have been working with Dr. Thaler on echolocation studies for a number of years, including her originating work as part of the team under the guidance of Distinguished Professor Melvyn A. Goodale at Western University in Canada.

The results of their latest work have been published in the Journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B Biological Sciences. The Royal Society is a fellowship of many of the world’s most eminent scientists and is the oldest scientific academy in continuous existence.

Quoting from the Abstract of the latest study results, “In bats it has been shown that they adjust their emissions to situational demands. Here we report similar findings for human echolocation. We asked eight blind expert echolocators to detect reflectors positioned at various azimuth angles.

Our results are, to our knowledge, the first to show that human echolocation experts adjust their emissions to improve sensory sampling. An implication from our findings is that human echolocators accumulate information from multiple samples.”

You can read more detail from the abstract on its page at the Royal Society Website.

The research is providing further validation of the pioneering work Daniel Kish has been doing for decades in teaching his specialized form of echolocation – FlashSonar™. Read our Special Report on the study.

Visioneers Coverage of this topic in the Media

CGTN AMERICA: FULL FRAME: CLICKING A PATH

China Global Television Network‘s program ‘Full Framereported the release of the latest Study Results from Durham University and used the occasion to debut their video report ‘Clicking A Path’.

CGTN: Full Frame: “Echolocation” is a technique used by some blind people to navigate their world. The technique involves producing “clicking” noises with the tongue that bounce off objects in the environment and helps the visually-impaired create a mental image of where these objects are located. It’s the same “sonar” technique that is used in nature by bats, dolphins and porpoises to navigate a path.

A new study recently published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, found that blind people who have mastered echolocation can identify objects with a high rate of accuracy by listening for echoes of their mouth clicks and that they subconsciously make subtle changes to their clicking patterns depending on the object’s location.

Full Frame’s Sandra Hughes spent the day with Brian Bushway, a perceptual navigation instructor with World Access for the Blind, and his young echolocation trainee as they “sonified” the world around them:

Learn more about FlashSonar Echolocation by previewing and ordering a textbook co-authored by Daniel Kish.

BBC NEWS: Science & Environment

BBC Science on the study. Daniel Kish explains FlashSonar Echolocation. Visioneers Facebook module frames a tweet by the Royal Society which published the latest echolocation study. Their text reads: Fascinating research on how humans use 'echolocation' in a very similar way to bats. BBC caption of Daniel Kish video reads: How humans echolocate like bats. Blind people who use sound to navigate their environment adjust their clicks very similarly to bats, research reveals. Link to the BBC Article.

A study has revealed secrets that help some blind people navigate their world by “seeing with sound”.

People who use “echolocation” employ it in a very similar way to bats – producing clicks that bounce off objects and “sonify” them into a picture of the surroundings.

A study of experts in the technique has revealed how louder clicks allow “echolocators” to see behind them. The insights are published in the Royal Society journal Proceedings B.

Read more at: BBC NEWS: Science and Environment

THEGUARDIAN.com

Echolocation News Spreads. More media outlets report on Durham Study. Image: screen photo of the Guardian's website with the headline: Echolocation could help blind people to navigate like bats. Study confirms accuracy of using mouth clicks to identify location of objects, and uncovers insights which could help teach the skill. Link to the article.

Most people who are born blind are highly sensitive to the acoustics of their environment – using the echoes that bounce of objects, walls and buildings to navigate and avoid collisions.

However, in recent years there has been a growing awareness of the ability of some blind individuals to use mouth clicks to actively echolocate.

Lore Thaler, who led the work at Durham University, said: “From a scientific perspective, it’s firmly established that people can do this.”

Read more at TheGuardian.com

INDEPENDENT.co.uk.

Educating the Media. Many uninformed about teaching FlashSonar. Image: Photo of the Idependent online. Headline: Blind people able to use array of bat-like clicks as 'sonar' to sense their surroundings. Analysis of 'expert echolocaters' allows scientists to understand their incredible abilities in greater depth, and could help teach others to develop the same skills. Photo shows a young male student in the UK leading a BBC reporter along a sidewalk while echolocating. Link to the article.

Specifically, the researchers wanted to find out how echolocators adjust their clicks in response to variations in their surroundings to create complex “mental maps”.

To this end, they enlisted eight blind expert echolocators to have their abilities put to the test.

“Just from walking around with people who echolocate, I know anecdotally that this is a very flexible behaviour – so sometimes they are soft, sometimes louder,” Dr Thaler told The Independent.

Read more at Independent.co.uk

Visioneers Facebook module frames a photo of Humoody Smith practicing wrestling moves with teammate Paul Johnson in his school's gym. Caption: Junior Visioneer Embraces Life. Humoody also embraces challenges head-on.

JR. VISIONEER HUMOODY EMBRACES LIFE’S CHALLENGES

Blasted in the face at close range by a terrorist’s shotgun in Iraq when he was just two years-old, Humoody Smith’s life has been an ongoing chronicle of triumph over tragedy.

Blinded by the attack, Humoody was eight years-old when we started working with him and we’ve borne witness to the incredible young man he’s maturing into – much of that, the guiding result of his supportive and loving adoptive family, (our Donors of The Year for 2016), and much of it a phenomenal internal spirit.

Humoody has been a living embodiment of our “No Limits” philosophy from the first day we worked with him, and his mother Julie recently posted about how it made him stand-out at a blind Paralympic sports camp:

“I asked Humoody if any of the other kids play school sports like he does. He said, “Mom you don’t understand, none of these kids play school sports. You and Dad have never parented me like a “blind” kid, you let me play club and school wrestling and school football.”

As we were leaving, one of the counselors told Humoody and myself that he was happy that Humoody encouraged the other blind kids to not be afraid of sports. It made me happy that Humoody was encouraging others.”

No pity needed for this guy. He recently turned 15 and is going stronger than ever!

You can also meet Humoody in our Happy New Year Video and learn more about him on our BlindNotBroken page:

https://visioneers.org/blindnotbroken/

Read the latest profile about Humoody in his local newspaper, The Herald,  (which in 13 years of coverage, still hasn’t learned the correct spelling of his name): http://bit.ly/2pUwMJh

DANIEL KISH NAMED ASHOKA FELLOW

Visioneer's Social Media module framed frames a photo of Lead Visioneer Daniel Kish posted by Ashoka. Caption: Meet Ashoka Fellow Daniel Kish. World Access For The Blind, Los Angeles, California. Transforming the training and experience of perceptual navigation for blind people.

Friday spotlight on 2017 #AshokaFellow Daniel Kish of World Access for the Blind. Daniel has created a new model of perceptual navigation training which may be the most disruptive innovation since the guide dog.

As a child, Daniel realized (and has since scientifically proven) that by producing a clicking sound with his tongue and using its echoes to “echolocate”. 

Read more at our Facebook Page.

VISIONEERS | WAFTB HIGHLIGHTS

Facebook compiled a reel of of special moments from the activities of World Access For The Blind, and later, Visioneers in 2017.

It highlighted the third round of training with The Foundation For The Blind in Thailand where our trainee Visioneers earned Instructor Certificates at various rankings.

It also captured some images with our students in the U.K., as well as the USA. Click on the thumbnail to play the video and click the Sound icon for audio.

OUR STUDY TOPS REDDIT SCIENCE

Our study tops reddit science. Our FlashSonar echolocation validated by science. Image: Screen grab of 'The New Reddit Journal Of Science' webpage with the post about echolocation at the top of the list.

‘Seeing with Sound’ Study Chronicles the Science of Human Echolocation’

World Access For The Blind has been proud to be a research partner with Durham University in the U.K. as one of the many projects we participate in.

It wasn’t long after the most recent study results were released that they ended up topping the New Reddit Journal of Science Forum.

Read more at our Facebook page.

WAFTB Social Media Module frames a photo of Ethan David Loch taking a bow beside a grand piano. A poster superimposed in the foreground reads EthanDavid Loch under an illustration of a Scottish Thistle and Music in Lanark under an illustrated piano keyboard. Charity Concert in support of World Access For The Blind. Caption: Be amazed by blind prodigy! Help him help other kids see with sound.

“ANGEL OF MUSIC” FUNDRAISING HERO: ETHAN DAVID LOCH

World Access For The Blind/VISIONEERS  has been working with Ethan since he was a wee toddler in Canada, and in his native Scotland as he’s grown into a very talented and caring young man. We’re wowed by Ethan’s incredible talent, and humbled by his generosity, as he held a charity concert at Lanark this year in support of our work. He even participated in the muddiest McTuff Mud Run you could ever imagine to raise funds so that other blind kids in Scotland can benefit from our FlashSonar instruction the way he has.

Thank you so much, Ethan! And Congratulations on your well-deserved awards at the Vatican, the Chopin Festival in Poland, and the James Waterhouse Prize in London and his performance at Steinway Hall.

A major part of these achievements is the wonderful support Ethan gets from his close-knit and loving family, including his Dad Fraser, and his first piano instructor – his Mum Larinda – herself, an accomplished concert pianist and Suzuki Method Instructor, his big brother Nathanael who fiercely slogged through the Mud Run with Ethan, even carrying him on his back after both his shoes got stuck in the mud, and little sister Hannah who’s always ready with the biggest hugs. And not to forget his Uncle Dave and the rest of the clan.

We’re so proud of you Ethan! All of us at Visioneers wish you many more musical successes in 2018!

WAFTB STUDENT KEVIN “RISING”

We’re always happy to hear from our current and former students on how they’re doing, and on what a positive difference learning FlashSonar™ Echolocation is making in their life.

So it is with Kevin Lowe. He’s a survivor of some tough circumstances, but he’s making the most of what he’s learned, as profiled in Plantation Living Magazine. Read more at our Facebook page.

GLOBAL PRESS COVERS STUDY

Our pitch phrase is ‘Our Vision Is Sound | Our Method Is Science | Our Results Change Lives’.

Today, we’re focusing on the Science as we mark the release of a new study that World Access for the Blind has been a research partner in that looks at human echolocation in unprecedented detail.

Read more at our Facebook page.

PAYING IT FORWARD

WAFTB Facebook module frames photos of WAFTB Perceptual Navigation Instructor Brian Bushway working with Jake Olson. The middle photo shows Lead Instructor Daniel Kish working with student Nava. The third photo shows a young Humoody Smith, another of our students. Caption: Our students 'Pay It Forward'. Providing inspiration and opportunity for others.

World Access for the Blind has been teaching blind persons to see with sound for over 16 years.

We’ve been doing this long enough now that the inspiration is cascading across subsequent age groups, as is the ‘paying it forward’. Such is the case with our students: Jake, Humoody and Nava.

Read more at our Facebook Page.

Social Media module frames a photo of Humoody Smith leading his Dad Randy by a Tether in a fundraising run. Caption: Always by his side! Humoody and Randy run "in their shoes". We salute WAFTB student Humoody and his Dad Randy for raising awareness for the Iraqi Children Foundation.

KEEPING UP WITH HUMOODY SMITH

World Access For The Blind student Humoody Smith was busy iast Spring participating in the 5th annual ‘In Their Shoes’ 5K event in Alexandria, Virginia for the Iraqi Children Foundation.

An estimated 800k children have been orphaned over ten years of war and more than 1 million have been displaced by ISIS. Humoody himself was an early victim of the conflict after he and his Iraqi family were ambushed by insurgents. Humoody was blinded and suffered horrible wounds after being shot in the face for which he still undergoes corrective surgeries to this day.

He was airlifted for treatment in the U.S. and eventually adopted by his American sponsor family headed up by Randy and Julie Robinett Smith (WAFTB’s DONORS OF THE YEAR for 2016).

Humoody recently turned 15 (BELATED HAPPY BIRTHDAY HUMOODY!) and is now the long snapper and chief wisecracker for his school’s football team and is involved in many other sports and activities thanks to his incredible parents.

Read more at our Facebook page.

ASSIGNMENT DURHAM: STUDY RESULTS

The Science of Echolocation. Measuring the acoustic properties of our clicks. Image: Photo of WATB perceptual navigation instructor Juan Ruiz wearing sensors is superimposed against a background of colored measurement graphs from the study.

‘Seeing with Sound’ Study Chronicles the Science of Human Echolocation’

World Access For The Blind has been proud to be a research partner with Durham University in the U.K. as one of the many Academic Research programs we participate in with Dr. Lore Thaler. Read more at our Facebook Page.

“SEEING WTH SOUND” STUDY ARTICLE

WAFTB Editor’s Note: The article mentions that we can familiarize ourselves with and sketch an unfamiliar room, but fails to mention more complex outdoor environments where we can do the same. ‘This Is How Some Blind People Are Able To Echolocate Like Bats’ By Clare Wilson.

Read more at our Facebook Page.

ASSIGNMENT: FREEDOM

New Scientist Magazine interviewed WAFTB President Daniel Kish about the new ‘Seeing With Sound‘ study that he participated in at Durham University.

But the conversation didn’t end there.

Read more at our Facebook Page.

HURRICANE IRMA: EMERGENCY INFO

WAFTB Facebook Module frames a photo of blind Marine Veteran Enrique Alva being assisted by a volunteer as he's evacuated from his home in Houston just before the arrival of Hurricane Harvey. Caption: Mandatory Evacuations. How to assist blind, disabled and elderly.

As one natural disaster followed the other, World Access For The Blind provided emergency information for disabled persons living independently and anyone who might be helping them to evacuate.

Many people were following coverage of the storm on their mobile phones,so we tried to provide the most relevant information. We’ve archived the coverage of Hurricane Irma.

HURRICANE HARVEY: EMERGENCY INFO

If you are or know someone who is blind, low-vision, living with a disability or elderly and in need of help getting to safety, CALL 1-800-626-4959. 

Some news sites ands blogs are reporting that people with disabilities are being turned away from some shelters or being denied sign language interpreters.

Read more at our Facebook page.

DANIEL IN ‘PROFITABLE PRACTICE’

WAFTB Facebook Module: Image shown is a screengrab of the profile page featuring a photo of Daniel Kish walking in the foothills of mountains in Iceland. Captions read: Magazine profile of Daniel. 'Profitable Practice' in doctors' offices in U.S. and Canada.

Daniel Kish, the lead Founder and President of World Access for the Blind is a ‘notable profile’ in the summer edition of Profitable Practice.

It’s a magazine published for medical professionals in Canada and the United States, and you’ll often find a copy in the waiting area of your health care professional.

Read more at our Facebook Page.

INDIVIDUAL DONATIONS

Make a secure donation now via PayPal Giving Fund. There are No Fees, so that means 100 percent of your donation goes to World Access For The Blind. If you're donating by credit card, you'll be asked to register a PayPal account if you don't have one already with a simple email address and password. Click here to donate viaPayPal Giving Fund, and Thank You for your contribution.
Pay by credit card or with Apple or Android Pay. Click here to donate via Square.

ENTERPRISE DONATIONS

Help us share life-changing Perceptual Freedom. We depend upon your support. Image: Silhouette of Daniel Kish walking with his full-length navigation cane.
Benevity Causes Portal. Donate to World Access For The Blind from your Company's Benevity account. Click here to link to WAFTB's page at Benevity.
World Access For The Blind U.S. Federal IRS Tax ID | EIN 330936778. Image: Silhouette of Daniel Kish walking.

DONATE BY CHECK

Donations by personal check are also welcome. Please make the check payable to: World Access For The Blind and mail to:

World Access For The Blind

650 N. Rose Drive, #208

Placentia, CA 92870

THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR YOUR THOUGHTFUL AND GENEROUS SUPPORT!

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HOW TO HELP: SPREAD THE WORD! SHARE NEWS OF OUR WORK ACROSS SOCIAL MEDIA!

Visioneers, a division of World Access For The Blind. High Performance Visioneering Solutions for Blind Persons | Blindness Professionals | Schools | Enterprise and more. +1.866.396.7035 | info@visioneers.org. Correspondence address, 650 North Rose Drive, #208, Placentia, California, 92870, USA. © 2000-2018 by Visioneers | World Access For The Blind. visioneers.org | waftb.org | Image: Visioneers logo against echoing FlashSonar waves.
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