NEWSPAPER: The Los Angeles Times (Cover Story & Great Read)
For Blind, The World Appears With A Click
L.A. Times: Cover Story | Great Read July 13, 2015 By Joe Mozingo
“This quiet cul-de-sac of old bungalows in Long Beach is at the center of an unorthodox movement to teach blind people to navigate using tongue clicks for orientation.
Daniel Kish, 49, lives and runs World Access for the Blind here, with Bushway as one of his two main instructors.
Their students learn to better perceive the space before them, sending out sonar, like dolphins or bats, to get an acoustic read on their surroundings — a human form of echolocation.” Read the full article.
MAGAZINE: Men’s Journal
The Blind Man Who Taught Himself To See
Men’s Journal | Features By Michael Finkel
“Kish is seeking – despite a lack of support from every mainstream blind organization in America – nothing less than a profound reordering of the way the world views blind people, and the way blind people view the world.
He’s tired of being told that the blind are best served by staying close to home, sticking only to memorized routes, and depending on the unreliable benevolence of the sighted to do anything beyond the most routine of tasks.
Kish preaches complete and unfettered independence, even if the result produces the occasional bloody gash or broken bone. Read the full article.
Daniel Kish on blindness, navigating challenges and claiming your freedom
Forbes Magazine & Ashoka | Alex Vesey | 11/10/2017
Daniel Kish has lived most of his life as a blind person. During his first year of life, both of his eyes were removed due to rare cancer.
Kish has since mastered a new way to see: by using sound and human flash sonar techniques that he now shares widely through World Access For The Blind, the California based organization he founded and leads.
Ashoka’s Alex Vesey caught up with Kish after he was named an Ashoka Fellow to learn more:
READ THE FORBES ARTICLE
Daniel Kish On Blindness, Navigating Challenges And Claiming Your Freedom
Alex Vesey: Daniel, when you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up and how did your parents support you?
Daniel Kish: I wanted to be everything, policeman, fireman, pilot, doctor. I wanted to be Batman. I went through all the same phases that everyone goes through. I wasn’t really exposed to anyone saying, “You can’t do that. You’re blind. Let’s be realistic.” My mom once told me that if I became a pilot, she wouldn’t be flying in my plane. But she never said, “You can’t do that.” So, as I got older, I wanted to be a park ranger and do forest work.
I knew for the longest time that I wanted to be a writer, a psychologist, a musician, all of which I’ve become in one manner or other. And, I do plenty of hiking on my own, too.
Vesey: So, you experienced a feeling of freedom, not limitation, from early on?
Kish: Yes, and I return to this point about freedom often because I find that it’s misunderstood. It isn’t something that’s granted. If it’s granted then it’s only grasped with conditions. Instead, freedom is something you claim for yourself. For anyone who feels restricted within or around a certain challenge that they face, it’s really up to them to find freedom and claim it for themselves in a responsible way.
Vesey: What do sighted people not get about blindness?
Kish: People often miss that it’s their impressions about blindness that are far more threatening to blind people than blindness itself. It’s actually these impressions that need fixing. We do a lot of enterprise consulting, corporate speaking, and learning and development with citizen groups to bring about a more mutual understanding of what ability challenge really means and what blindness in particular means. Part of the message is that we all face blindness in one form or another. It is endemic to every challenge that we face personally or socially, but we really can address it constructively to see more clearly through all challenges.
Vesey: What is the focus of World Access For The Blind that you started?
Kish: We support blind people to see themselves through challenges. How we do this is less about sight support, as other groups already do this. We look more specifically at how blind people can access their environment in their own way on their terms. We help blind people learn to gather information about elements and features of their environment from a distance well beyond the reach of their cane in order to manage themselves more effectively on their own terms.
This focus brought us to the development of human flash sonar, which is an analog to bat sonar, which it turns out humans can use and actually deploy the visual system of the brain to process.
Taking this one step further, we found over the years that the process we developed to help the brain reshape itself is universally useful because it neutralizes fear of the dark unknown, which is humanity’s most primal fear and greatest challenge. Challenges of every kind become less challenging when we don’t fear them.
People in different circumstances, people who are sighted, people with different ability challenges, can develop the same capacities to improve their lives, including their relationships to each other and to their own surroundings.
Vesey: Why is now an important moment for your work?
Kish: People are looking to new ideas, new technologies, new possibilities. There are options available now that were not available 50 years ago or 100 years ago or even 25 years ago. In some ways, people are more open, although that openness is being challenged. But I think we go through these oscillations throughout history and through consciousness.
Vesey: Who are your allies and partners?
Kish: If supporting all citizens to achieve an equitable share in society’s goods, resources, services, and companionship, if that is something that we value as a society, then we’d like to engage in partnerships to do that. We need a sharing of ideas, a sharing of resources, a sharing of leadership. Tightening these networks and partnerships will allow us to bring about significant change.
Vesey: What about your work most energizes you?
Kish: Good question! It’s working with children. I’m lucky to get to help people of all ages and abilities reach for more freedom and autonomy and dignity. But I do have a soft spot for children and love watching them grow into their full selves. That would be my favorite.
Daniel Kish was just announced as one of the 2017 North American Ashoka Fellows.
MAGAZINE: National Geographic Magazine
RISK ZONE: DANIEL KISH
The New Age of Exploration
National Geographic has updated their online magazine and archive and many older articles, such as this one from July, 2013, have been purged..
On our Media/TV-Video page you’ll find a video of our participation in NatGeo’s “Brain Games”, and in the section below, we discovered that Ed Yong’s “Not Exactly Rocket Science”Blog ended in 2016, so the best we are left with is the introduction.
In the text bar below, we have pasted the introduction and a screenshot of the Risk Zone article found on National Geographic ES . We’ll update if we can.
READ THE NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC ARTICLE
RISK ZONE: DANIEL KISH
A new age of exploration
July 2013 National Geographic “The Risk Takers”
Daniel Kish does something amazing that forces us to reflect on the full potential of the human body that we do not take advantage of.
Kish was born with retinal cancer and had to have his eyes removed when he was not yet 13 months old.
Soon he began to click with his tongue, sounds that seemed to help him move. He is now 47 years old and moves mainly using echolocation, such as bats. And he does it so well that he is even able to ride a bicycle in the middle of traffic. His organization, World Access for the Blind, teaches others the art of clicking.
The original English-language article has been removed from the NatGeo archive, but we have a screengrab below from National Geographic España. If anyone would like to translate it into English and send it to us at firstname.lastname@example.org, we’d be extremely grateful.
MAGAZINE: National Geographic Magazine
The Brain On Sonar
National Geographic Magazine |Phenomena
“When all four men listened to the recordings, their auditory cortex – the part of the brain responsible for hearing – lit up on the scans. That was expected.
But there was far more going on in Kish and Bushway’s brains.
When he heard the sounds of click echoes, Bushway’s calcarine cortex – a part of the brain that normally deals with vision – lit up. Kish’s reacted even more strongly. And when they heard the sounds of echoes reflecting from moving targets, they showed activity in areas that deal with movement.”
MAGAZINE: Success Magazine
We All Face The Dark Unknown
Success Magazine | Well-Being August 16, 2015
“How Daniel Kish, who’s been sightless since he was 13 months old, taught himself to see through the blindness—to find vision in the echoes.
Kish’s keen navigational skills have earned him the nickname Batman. He doesn’t wear a cape, but he does have a crusade.
He and his team of perceptual mobility coaches have taught FlashSonar to more than 15,000 people in 40-plus countries. The ambition stretches beyond this. “We want every blind person to have access to the unprecedented freedom, dignity, self-assurance and camaraderie that our approach affords.” Read more.
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