Daniel Kish

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Daniel Kish
Daniel Kish hiking in Iceland in 2013
Born1966 (age 57–58)
Alma materUniversity of California Riverside
Occupation(s)Founder and President of World Access for the Blind
Known forHuman echolocation
WebsiteOfficial website

Daniel Kish (born 1966 in Montebello, California)[1] is an American expert in human echolocation and the President of World Access for the Blind (WAFTB), a California-registered nonprofit organization founded by Kish in 2000 to facilitate "the self-directed achievement of people with all forms of blindness" and increase public awareness about their strengths and capabilities.[2] Kish and his organization have taught a form of echolocation to at least 500 blind children around the world.[3]

Kish, who had to have his eyes removed before he was 13 months old because of eye cancer, is the first totally blind person to be a legally Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialist (COMS) and to hold a National Blindness Professional Certification (NOMC).[2][4] He also holds master's degrees in developmental psychology and special education from University of California Riverside.[2]

Kish's work has inspired a number of scientific studies related to human echolocation. In a 2009 study at the University of Alcalá in Madrid, Spain, ten sighted subjects were taught basic navigation skills within a few days. The study aimed to analyze various sounds which can be used to echolocate and evaluate which were most effective.[5][6] In another study, MRI brain scans were taken of Kish and another echolocation expert to identify the parts of the brain involved in echolocation, with readings suggesting "that brain structures that process visual information in sighted people process echo information in blind echolocation experts."[7][8]

Kish was named an Ashoka Fellow in 2017. Fellows are leading social entrepreneurs recognized for their innovative solutions to social problems and potential to change patterns across society.[9]


  • Kish, Daniel (1995). Evaluation of an Echo-Mobility Program for Young Blind People (Thesis). San Bernardino, CA: Department of Psychology, California State University. p. 277. Archived from the original on February 2, 2002.
  • Kish, Daniel, and Hook, Jo (2016). Echolocation and FlashSonar. American Printing House for the Blind. p. 508.


  1. ^ Finkel, Michael (May 4, 2012). "The Blind Man Who Taught Himself To See". Men's Journal. Archived from the original on May 11, 2012.
  2. ^ a b c "World Access for the Blind Web site". Archived from the original on October 9, 2011.
  3. ^ Sutter, John D. (11 November 2011). "Blind man uses his ears to see". CNN. Cable News Network. Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. Archived from the original on 29 September 2013.
  4. ^ Plataforma SINC (June 30, 2009). "Scientists Develop Echolocation In Humans To Aid The Blind". ScienceDaily. Archived from the original on January 12, 2012.
  5. ^ Rojas; et al. (March–April 2009). "Physical Analysis of Several Organic Signals for Human Echolocation: Oral Vacuum Pulses". Acta Acustica. 95 (2): 325–330. doi:10.3813/AAA.918155.
  6. ^ Ravilious, Kate (July 6, 2009). "Humans Can Learn to "See" With Sound, Study Says". National Geographic News. Archived from the original on July 7, 2013.
  7. ^ Thaler, L; Arnott, SR; Goodale, MA (May 25, 2011). "Neural Correlates of Natural Human Echolocation in Early and Late Blind Echolocation Experts". PLOS ONE. 6 (5): e20162. Bibcode:2011PLoSO...620162T. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0020162. PMC 3102086. PMID 21633496.
  8. ^ Yong, Ed (May 25, 2011). "The brain on sonar – how blind people find their way around with echoes". Discover Magazine. Archived from the original on November 3, 2011.
  9. ^ Kish, Daniel. "ashoka.org". Archived from the original on 2019-12-05.

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