OUR BEST AMBASSADORS ARE OUR OWN STUDENTS
Only they can tell you what it feels like to learn how to liberate from dependence and isolation.
Only they can describe the feeling of Perceptual Freedom.
And only their families can describe the emotions of witnessing their blind child becoming more self-directed and fearless as our FlashSonar™ Echolocation lights-up the world around them.
Ethan David Loch
You don’t need sight to become a musical virtuoso!
Blind from birth, Ethan’s first language was music and sound – perhaps a natural development from having a concert pianist for a mother. But his spoken language and mobility skills lagged behind. WAFTB’s Daniel Kish started working with Ethan from the age of two when his family lived in Vancouver, and also after they returned to Scotland. When Ethan was 10 and freshly accepted as the first blind pupil at the highly esteemed St. Mary’s Music School, Daniel returned for a refresher course of sorts to help Ethan use FlashSonar™ at this new environment.
Ethan’s musical abilities as a performer and composer continue to evolve and astound, while his Perceptual Navigation abilities evolve on a parallel track. The challenge for Ethan is bringing a sense of order to his ‘perceptual universe’ so that his navigational skills can catch up to a balanced level of focus with his musical skills, a process his mother Larinda credits Daniel with making great progress on.
You don’t need sight to become Batboy!
Ruben Graham-Morris of Birmingham, England was born blind, and was diagnosed at eight months with the genetic condition Leber’s congenital amaurosis which damages the retina. It’s the part of the eye that detects light and color and Ruben’s case was especially severe, meaning he would never see.
His mother Trudie learned that WAFTB’s Daniel Kish was in England, holding a Perceptual Navigation workshop in Dorset for Common Sense, a charity formed by the parents of one of his other students. Trudie told the Daily Mail online newspaper, “I knew I wanted Ruben to learn echolocation. It gave me renewed hope for his future.” Since then, Daniel, known in world-wide media as ‘the real life Bat Man’, has been working with Ruben on and off over the years, and Ruben has taken to dressing up as ‘Batboy’. Trudie wants to take Ruben to the U.S. for more training with Daniel and has set up a fundraiser at GoFundMe.
You don’t need sight to ‘rise up’ and bring joy to a family!
“Our daughter, Ólöf Halla Ran, is two and a half years old. I don´t want to say that she is multidisabled because she is so much more , a happy, funny, determinant, strong and joyful little girl.
So, I prefer to say that she is challenged with multidisability. She is diagnosed with CP, cortical visual impairment, hearing impairment (deaf in one ear) and developmental delay.
We adopted her from China at the age of 10 months. After the initial shock of knowing that she was challenged with disability and not just understimulation from her stay at the orphanage, we were full of hope and sure that this little girl would rise up to all her challenges.
One of her Chinese names when we adopted her was ‘RAN’. Ran means ‘to rise up’ and we honestly believed that she would rise up with our help . . . Little by little fear and worry started to replace the hope in our hearts . . .We were unconsciously preparing for the worst and that affected our work with her and what we expected of her.
I don´t know if you realize the big impact you have made with your visit to Iceland. Thank you for giving us our hope back and believing that anything is possible!”
The Mother of Ólöf Halla Ran
Humoody Jauda Smith
You don’t need sight to excel at Academics and Sports.
Humoody Smith was two when he was shot in the face and blinded by insurgents in Iraq. His mother survived and felt Humoody would have a better future in the United States because of the harsh treatment of disabled persons in Iraq.
Fast-forward 12 years and Humoody is thriving with his adoptive family in Washington State, achieving entry to the gifted academic program at his school, excelling at competitive wrestling, and scoring as the long snapper for his school football team.
His American parents Randy and Julie Smith and their family have embraced Humoody in a loving environment that’s enabled him to become fearless, and a fierce junior advocate of WAFTB’s ‘No Limits’ philosophy.
You don’t need sight to reach for the stars.
John Pak’s life-changing moment came when he was 11 years old and started training with Daniel Kish in FlashSonar™ Echolocation.
He applied WAFTB’s ‘No Limits’ philosophy on his way to earning a college degree, serving his country with honor in the U.S. Air Force Auxiliary, and reaching for the stars at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center where he champions inclusion by assisting disabled persons in obtaining gainful employment at Goddard.
John is also the Chairperson of the Board of Directors of World Access For The Blind, and we’re also grateful for his inspiring example of service. Hear John explain at TEDx Cambridge what kind of difference our FlashSonar™ Echolocation made in his life.
You don’t need sight to be a passionate advocate!
Shawn Marsolais has been that and more for visually-impaired and blind children and their families for almost two decades.
Born with Retinitis Pigmentosa, Shawn’s vision progressively deteriorated. Since the age of 18, she’s had less than two percent of her vision and has fully adjusted to life as a blind person, a blind athlete at the Paralympics and in Canadian swimming, and as a blind parent.
After training with WAFTB’s Daniel Kish in Vancouver, Shawn was inspired to provide services and support for partially-sighted and blind children, youth and their families by starting Blind Beginnings. In the video below from AccessibleMedia, Shawn explains the benefits she gained from FlashSonar™ at a workshop she invited Daniel to in Vancouver, Canada.
You don’t need sight to earn a Master’s Degree in Choral Conducting while raising two boys!
Julee-anne is the epitome of ‘it’s never too late’. Though well-accomplished as a choral soloist and teacher, as well as a hands-on mother, there was one vital accomplishment that had eluded her.
Blind from birth, Julee-anne had a lifelong dependency on being guided around by someone else – most usually, her husband Thomas.
That is, until what she calls ‘Eight Days That Changed My Life’ as posted on Huffington Post Australia Edition. Julee-anne discovered the work of Daniel Kish and her ‘Perceptual Liberation’ soon began.
On the Australian program ‘Insight’, (in the video below), she explains how she now gets around.
Chris Anderson: Curator of TED
You don’t need sight to make a huge impact with your words!
Daniel Kish delivers a warmly stirring and personal perspective on his own life, blindness, and helping others to navigate their challenges.
He is listed as one of the Top Ten Talks from the TED2015 main stage, and featured in TED’s online Ideas Magazine.
“THANK YOU. you were wonderful! You’ve got an amazingly compelling way of speaking — curiosity and intelligence and interest oozing out of every phrase that you utter. It’s so listenable to! You talk as if you’re alive and thinking through every word, and I absolutely love that!” – Chris Anderson – TED Curator. See and hear Chris and Daniel chat at the 10:53 mark in the video below.
BE THE SPARK THAT LIGHTS-UP MORE OPPORTUNITIES FOR BLIND PERSONS TO SEE WITH SOUND
Global media coverage of our work has led to a waiting list of many blind people who want to learn our FlashSonar™ Echolocation, and many blind and sighted people who want to train with us to become Perceptual Navigation Instructors.
You can be the spark of opportunity that helps to create jobs right here in the USA.
As a California-registered 501(c)(3) Non-Profit Organization for 15 years, World Access For The Blind knows it takes a lot of sparks to light-up the darkness.
Let your donation be the spark of opportunity for a blind person to light-up their world by learning to
SEE WITH SOUND.