Daniel Kish (born 1966 in Montebello, California) is an American expert in human echolocation and President of World Access for the Blind, a non-profit founded in 2000 to facilitate "the self-directed achievement of people with all forms of blindness" and increase public awareness about their strengths and capabilities. Kish and his organization have taught echolocation to at least 500 blind children around the world. Kish, who has been blind since he was 13 months old, 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). He also holds masters degrees in developmental psychology and special education.
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, ten sighted subjects were taught basic navigation skills within a few days. The study aimed to analyze various sounds which can be used to echo-locate and evaluate which were most effective. 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."
In popular culture
Kish made a cameo appearance in the 2012 Indian Tamil film Thaandavam. He was also featured in the "Watch This" episode in season 1 of National Geographic's Brain Games. On January 23, 2015 he was featured on an episode of Invisibilia entitled "How to Become Batman", which tells the story of how higher expectations can empower others to accomplish amazing things in their lives. He was also featured on This American Life Episode #544 which focused on his efforts to educate other blind people into the ways that the sighted world keeps them "safe" at the price of their freedom.
- Kish DC (1995) "Evaluation of an Echo-Mobility Program for Young Blind People [Master's thesis]. San Bernardino (California): Department of Psychology, California State University. 277 p.
- Poptech demonstration http://poptech.org/popcasts/daniel_kish_blind_vision
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- Ravilious, Kate (July 6, 2009). "Humans Can Learn to "See" With Sound, Study Says". National Geographic News. Retrieved November 10, 2011.
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- "The brain on sonar – how blind people find their way around with echoes". Discover Magazine. Retrieved November 9, 2011.