Dolphin clicking helps blind children see

March 10, 2008

According to an article in UK newspaper The Sunday Times, blind children in the UK are being taught to "see" by using the same method used by bats, dolphins, and whales: clicking their tongues.

According to an article in UK newspaper The Sunday Times, blind children in the UK are being taught to "see" by using the same method used by bats, dolphins, and whales: clicking their tongues.

The technique is called echolocation and uses reflected sound to help subjects "see" their surroundings by measuring the distance, size, and density of the objects around them.

The project is being pioneered by Visibility, one of Glasgow's oldest charities for the blind. In Scotland, 10 children aged five to 17 are being taught to produce clicking sounds and to interpret echoes from those sounds to aid them in visualizing their world, according to the article.

The technique was first developed in the US and has been used to teach blind Americans how to differentiate between people, trees and buildings.

"I have seen echolocation being used — it's quite stunning. It has been demonstrated to me that it absolutely works," said Professor Gordon Dutton of the Royal Hospital for Sick Children in Glasgow and one of Britain's leading paediatric ophthalmologists, told The Sunday Times.