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Retrograde Regrets Article

I’m 67. Was blinded by a rifle and firecracker accident in 1966. Found out in the following year that I had a photographic memory. That helped, but self-taught what Daniel Kish now promotes as ‘Flash Sonar’. My cousin’s husband was a marshall arts instructor. He encouraged me to use my hearing, to get out the back of their apartment and walk around without even a white cane. That was while I was taking rehab training with the CNIB in Vancouver B.C. Canada. I’d go out and navigate around a Safeway L-shaped strip mall parking lot, circumnavigate the mall, and get back to the gravel alley and back stairs to the apartment. Of course, it helped that Hal was keeping watch from the apartment balcony. Now, after so many years, and after promoting computer technology for the blind, I feel dense. I’m just discovering that others, like Daniel, have been active in promoting independence for blind people, teaching the use of tongue clicks to give sonar pictures of the environment. Been doing it for decades without thought that I might help others utilize this technique. Of course, my ‘flash sonar’ isn’t anywhere near as good as that developed by Daniel and others, but it certainly gave me an edge. I also hate with a passion the paternalism, the ‘control’ sighted people try to impose on those who see differently.

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