Summary of The Blind Man Who Taught Himself to See

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The Blind Man Who Taught Himself to See summary
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Rating

8 Overall

7 Applicability

9 Innovation

9 Style


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Click. Click. To Daniel Kish, that’s the sound of sight. He was born with retinoblastoma, and doctors had to remove his eyes to save him. As a child, Kish started clicking his tongue to navigate the world. Many blind people spontaneously start using echolocation – snapping, clapping, clicking their tongues – in childhood, but their parents, doctors and teachers generally put a stop to it because they fear the social stigma its strangeness elicits. Kish wants to change that.

In this summary, you will learn

  • Why echolocation is a valid means of "seeing" the world for some blind people,
  • How Daniel Kish teaches echolocation, and
  • Why major organizations for blind people don't always support his methods.
 

About the Author

Michael Finkel is an American journalist. His books include True Story: Murder, Memoir, Mea Culpa and The Stranger in the Woods: The extraordinary story of the last true hermit.

 

Summary

Daniel Kish can’t “see” in the traditional sense, but he manages an astounding approximation of sight using echolocation. He clicks his tongue, then listens as the echoes travel 1,000 feet per second, bounce off objects, then make their way back to his ears. From these faint echoes, he can tell what he’s “looking” at. He can tell how far a parked car is from the curb, explore the wilderness and navigate crowded streets, all by listening to the echoes of his clicks. Kish calls his echolocation technique "FlashSonar" and it gives him a degree of independence most blind people never experience. Kish’s non-profit “World Access For the Blind,” offers training in echolocation to give blind people more independence.


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