Being born with a disability or handicap can make life difficult. In nature, this is called survival of the fittest. If a bird is unable to fly, it won’t get too far in life. The same is true with a human who is unable to walk or see. Fortunately for humans, when we lose one of our senses, the others get stronger. Humans even get help from animals to help them get around. There is one blind man who refuses help from any outside sources and may have changed the lives of many people.
When Daniel Kish was an infant, he developed a form of cancer called retinoblastoma, which attacks the cochlea. Before he even had his first birthday, Daniel had to have both of his eyes removed to keep him alive. This left him completely blind. He refused to keep sunglasses on to keep people from staring, so he received prosthetic eyes. They couldn’t help him see, but he had plans for his prosthetic eyes.
In the Hospital and At Home
When Daniel was very young, he had yet another surgery and woke up alone in intensive care. He climbed out of his bed in the nursery and wandered the halls of the hospital. He didn’t have anyone to help him get around, and he didn’t bump into a single thing. When Daniel was released from the hospital, he went to his open window and climbed outside in the middle of the night. The toddler wanted to explore more, so he climbed the fence to his neighbor’s property.
The neighbors would never press charges on a 2-year-old boy, but he did cause a ruckus. The police found the toddler and returned him to his parents, and his antics left everyone wondering how a blind child could hop several fences in the middle of the night.
It wasn’t long before Daniel’s parents started to understand how their son was able to get around the way he was. They noticed that he was making clicking noises with his tongue as he moved around. Not only did this produce an echoing sound in his mouth, but it also created an echo in the environment. When the echo hits objects or walls, it bounces back. This is how bats are able to get around so well in the dark. Bats have a sonar system called echolocation.
Daniel is both brave and adventurous. Growing up, he often fought off bullies and helped other kids who were being bullied. His ability to use echolocation and his similar personality to the comic book character, Bruce Wayne, people started calling him Batman.
Daniel used his skill, and he practiced it often. It didn’t take long before he became more independent. He never used a seeing eye dog or even a cane. He also taught himself to ride a bike safely. He would practice on his own by riding in a straight line along the wall, and soon, he would ride anywhere he liked. This doesn’t mean that there weren’t any accidents. There was a day that he crashed into some trash cans and then into a metal pole. It was a pretty bad collision, but he didn’t give up.
Regardless of his disability, Daniel did very well in school. In high school, he was voted, “Best Brain,” and “Most Likely To Succeed.” After high school, he attended the University of California and received his degree in psychology.
Daniel never grew out of his love of adventure. He enjoys the scents and sounds of nature, and he took up hiking. He loved nature and the solitude that it provides, and in 2003, he bought a cabin deep in the woods of California. He found it very easy to move around in the forest, thanks to his “superpower.” Sadly, his cabin burned to the ground. Unsafe products were used for the chimney, which caused the fire and Daniel’s heartbreak.
Although Daniel no longer had his beloved cabin, he didn’t let it get him down. He decided to start an organization called World Access For the Blind, and he teaches blind people to use his power so that they can get around without the need of a guide, a cane or a seeing-eye dog. Teaching others his skill of echolocation is his way of giving back to the blind community. This Blind Man Becomes Real-Life ‘Batman’ By Seeing With Sound, which he is now teaching to others. If Daniel has it his way, cane companies will take a huge hit, and seeing-eye dogs will be forced into retirement. It is his goal to help all blind people become more independent by teaching them a skill that he learned on his own.