YOU DON’T NEED SIGHT TO BE A VISIONARY
How do you go from losing your sight as an infant to ‘seeing with sound’ as the ‘real-life Bat Man’?
It’s been an incredible journey for Daniel Kish from the moment he could walk, to traveling the world and helping to light the way for generations of blind persons of all ages who might otherwise be left behind in the dark.
His younger brother Keith was also born with retinoblastoma – which is genetic – despite the fact that neither of their parents had the disease. This time, doctors were able to save Keith’s sight, and he went on to become a middle school teacher.
As Michael Finkel wrote in his Men’s Journal profile of Daniel, “Kish can hardly remember a time when he didn’t click. He came to it on his own, intuitively, at age two, about a year after his second eye was removed.
Many blind children make noises in order to get feedback – foot stomping, finger snapping, hand clapping, tongue clicking. These behaviors are the beginnings of echolocation, but they’re almost invariably deemed asocial by parents or caretakers and swiftly extinguished.
Kish was fortunate that his mother never tried to dissuade him from clicking. “That tongue click was everything to me,” he says.
He went to mainstream schools and relied almost exclusively on echolocation to orient himself, though at the time neither he nor his mom had any concept of what he was doing. “There was no one to explain it, there was no one to help me enhance it, and we all just kind of took it for granted,” he says. “My family and friends were like, ‘Yeah, he does this funny click thing and he gets around.'” They called it his radar. Navigating new places, he says, was like solving a puzzle.
He rode his bike with wild abandon. “I used to go to the top of a hill and scream ‘Dive bomb!’ and ride down as fast as I could,” he says. This is when he was eight. The neighborhood kids would scatter. “One day I lost control of the bicycle, crashed through these trash cans, and smashed into a metal light pole. It was a violent collision. I had blood all over my face. I picked myself up and went home.”
Kish was raised with almost no dispensation for his blindness. “My upbringing was all about total self-reliance,” he writes, “of being able to go after anything I desired.” His career interests, as a boy, included policeman, fireman, pilot, and doctor.
He was a celebrated singer and voracious consumer of braille books. He could take anything apart and put it back together – a skill he retains.
He was named “best brain” in middle school and graduated high school with a GPA close to 4.0. He was voted “most likely to succeed.”
Kish attended the University of California Riverside, then earned two master’s degrees – one in developmental psychology, one in special education. He wrote a thesis on the history and science of human echolocation, and as part of that devised one of the first echolocation training programs.
The ability of some blind individuals to perceive objects well before they could touch them was noted as early as 1749 by French philosopher Denis Diderot. He theorized it had something to do with vibrations against the skin of the face.
In the early 1800s, a blind man from England named James Holman journeyed around the world – he may have been the most prolific traveler in history up to that point, Magellan and Marco Polo included – relying on the echoes from the click of his cane. Not until the 1940s, in Karl Dallenbach‘s lab at Cornell University, was it irrefutably proven that humans could echolocate.
The thesis was the first time Kish really studied what he’d been doing all his life; it was the beginning, as he put it, of “unlocking my own brain.” He then became the first totally blind person in the United States (and likely the world) to be fully certified as an orientation and mobility specialist – that is, someone hired by the visually impaired to learn how to get around.
It was never Kish’s goal to run a foundation dedicated to the blind. He planned to be a psychologist. But he could not ignore the fact that few blind people enjoyed anything close to his freedom of movement, and he had grown weary of society’s attitude toward the blind.
So in 2000, he started World Access for the Blind. One of its missions is to counter every ‘no’ that blind people hear. Blindness, Kish says, should be understood – by both the blind and the sighted – as nothing more than an inconvenience.”
Read Michael Finkel’s complete profile of Daniel Kish at Men’s Journal.
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Daniel Kish – Credentials & Certificates
Totally blind, Daniel learned a new way to see, and he helps others see better.
Voted one of the top 10 speakers at TED2015 and PopTech’s ‘Talk of the Day’, and featured in over 150 major publications and broadcasts reaching over 2 billion people around the globe, Daniel has served thousands of clients from Fortune 500 corporations to individuals.
With over 20 years conducting hundreds of workshops and training people of every age and background, Daniel refers to himself as an “activational” presenter recognizing that whatever our motivations, inspirations and aspirations may be, in the end we must act.
During his years in college Daniel conducted pilot research to develop the first documented methodology to teach what he called Flash Sonar™ to other blind people.
This led to his becoming the first totally blind person in the world known to earn orientation and mobility certification to teach blind people how to navigate, while also earning a Master’s degree in Developmental Psychology and another Master’s in Special Education.
Because this certification was historically denied to blind people, Daniel’s entry into this field has helped open the way for other blind instructors, thus mobilizing a monumental paradigm shift in all fields related to blindness.
The last five years alone have seen the work of Daniel and his team published in prolific online and offline magazines & newspapers, such as:
Chronicle of Philanthropy|BBC World|Discover Magazine (excerpt from: The Superhuman Mind: Free the Genius in Your Brain)|The Guardian|The Los Angeles Times (Front page feature)| Men’s Journal (voted sixth best read of 2011 by Readers Digest)|NationalGeographic|New Scientist|Popular Science|Psychology Today|Scientific American|Smithsonian|Success Magazine|The Telegraph|The Week|and The Washington Post.
TV broadcasts include NBC News TODAY, ABC Nightly News, Sanjay Gupta on CNN and CNN International, Discovery Daily Planet, Guinness World Records, HD Net’s News and World Report, The Weather Channel’s Human Eclipse, and BBC Horizon Science; radio broadcasts including BBC radio, and NPR’S This American Life, Morning Edition, and All Things Considered; and more.
A prolific writer on his own, Daniel has contributed to numerous textbooks, peer reviewed journals, popular magazines, and specialty periodicals.
Publication of Daniel’s textbook on teaching FlashSonar™, the first of its kind, is scheduled for early 2017, to be followed by two more books under negotiation about his life and the hard science behind his approach.
Daniel’s special interests and areas of study include at-risk children, family dynamics, neural-anthropology, industrial-organizational psychology, the science of perception and action, interactive networking, ancient music, spirituality, healthy living, personal transformation, and all things of the great outdoors.
Daniel is most warmly grateful to his parents for his liberating up-bringing and life experiences, and the opportunities to share his insights world-wide.
Each of these two certificates focuses on a different philosophical view and pragmatic approach to teaching and learning orientation and mobility. Both certifying organizations are fully recognized and government-backed, and both garner professional respect and support within the blindness field.
This certificate is awarded by the Academy for Certification of Vision Rehabilitation and Education Professionals (ACVREP). Daniel also served on the ACVREP Subject Matter Expert Committee for the development of COMS certification standards.
This certificate is awarded by the National Blindness Professional Certification Board (NBPCB).
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This 501(c)(3) non-profit organization uniquely combines a self directed, no limits approach with expertise in perceptual development, positive psychology, person-centered instruction, and public education to develop and mobilize innovative, high impact strategies to facilitate self directed achievement by challenging all forms of blindness throughout the world.
He has maintained employment in this capacity since 1996 as an itinerant instructor for many school districts, rehabilitation agencies, and private persons throughout the world.
He believes in a strong interdisciplinary education model, making a point to work in close collaboration with all professionals and other supports in relation to each student.
Given his unique combination of training, background, and associations, Daniel refers to himself as a Perceptual-Navigation Specialist, emphasizing in his instructional practice the perceptual foundations underlying navigation and environmental interaction.
Daniel has worked with over 1,000 blind students of all ages and backgrounds, and from many cultures, as well as tens of thousands of professionals and members of the blindness community in over 40 countries. He has particular experience with deaf-blindness, autism, and perceptual processing disorders.
In addition to his work as a Perceptual-Navigation Specialist, Daniel has coordinated and supervised all types of educational and enrichment programs including assistive technology, Braille and large print instruction, student/family coaching, peer tutoring, public awareness, and a mentor program.
Daniel has presented and conducted hundreds of invited presentations and workshops internationally on all topics related to human perception and blindness, including professional development trainings for top scientists, teachers, and medical practitioners.
Of particular note are his seminars on the development of the perceptual and imaging systems in the brain, how this development is disrupted by dependency conditioning, such as sighted guides and lack of early cane training, how this disruption stunts short and long term psychological and physical development, and how this disruption can be put back on track by reestablishing natural processes of self directed discovery.
Among many presentations world wide, Daniel has presented an invited paper on this topic to the 2005 European conference of the International Council for Education of People with Visual Impairment (ICEVI).
He has helped to establish relief projects to foster freedom of community participation of blind people in developing countries.
Among other things, this has involved developing and implementing a multiphase model for training individuals, blind and sighted, to provide Perceptual-Navigation instruction to other blind people, and to mobilize public awareness campaigns to shed a more positive light on the real issues faced by blind individuals.
In this connection, Daniel co-authored a section on audition training in a textbook called “Early Focus” edited by Prof. Diane L. Fazzi and Dr. Rona Pogrund. Daniel has also authored several articles for various periodicals, including New Scientist, Insight Magazine (U.K.), and Future Reflections.
He was also one of a dozen Mobility Specialists selected to serve on the Subject Matter Expert Committee for revision and updating of National Certification for Orientation and Mobility Specialists.
Read more of Daniel Kish’s Professional Bio.
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DANIEL KISH: HIGH-PROFILE ACTIVATIONAL SPEAKER|PERCEPTUAL NAVIGATION CONSULTANT
Daniel has inspired millions of people globally with his Keynote Addresses, Activational Workshops and Perceptual Consulting,
including Fortune 500’s such as:
Apple|PayPal|Proctor & Gamble|Fidelity Investments|Scottish American
and more, to groups or individual students, or high-profile events where he’s been voted a Top 10 Talk* or ‘Talk of the Day’** such as:
TED*|TEDxLondon|TEDxMumbai|POPTECH**|CDI Pueblo|Compute Midwest|Imagine Solutions
DANIEL KISH: HIS CLICKS ECHO TO OVER 2 BILLION VIEWERS
Whether as the ‘real-life Batman’ or sometimes compared to ‘Daredevil’, or garnering over 20 million views in X Ambassador’s ‘Renegades’ video, Daniel’s FlashSonar™ clicks have echoed globally via ABC, ABC Australia, BBC, CBC, CBS, CTV, CNN, Discovery, Fox, Global, iTV, NatGeo, NBC, Nine Network, NPR, SBS, Space, ZDF and many more.
OUR TEAM: THEY STARTED AS CLIENTS & GREW INTO INSTRUCTORS
One of the proudest legacies of the decades-long efforts by Daniel Kish to educate and liberate blind persons from the traditional cycles of isolated dependency, has been the team of Perceptual Navigation Instructors he’s assembled from his students who have grown-up with FlashSonar™ Echolocation and it’s ‘NO LIMITS’ philosophy, and how they are ‘paying it forward’ around the world.
WE TEACH BLIND PERSONS TO SEE WITH SOUND
When it’s a beautiful day, our students ‘see’ it in a new way.
Our scientifically-proven FlashSonar™ echolocation lights-up the brain’s Visual Cortex – the part normally used for vision – with audible spatial feedback, like sparks in the dark lighting-up the surrounding environment.
We operate entirely on donations.
Be the spark of opportunity by donating towards a FlashSonar™ Tuition Scholarship for a blind child, teen or adult, so we can teach them to
LIGHT-UP THEIR WORLD!