In his talk “No Sight, No Limits: How the Blind Learn to See.” Daniel Kish will discuss how he has developed, and trained many, many blind people, to use a method of echolation using one’s tongue so they can navigate by themselves through the busiest intersections and remote, dangerous natural habitats.
In her talk “Beginning to Believe,”Shawn Marsolais will cover common misconceptions or assumptions about blindness that pose barriers to learning and discuss the effect of positive attitude and opportunity on fostering potential and a no limits attitude. She will highlight how important a positive attitude is for children who are blind to be successful in all aspects of their lives including establishing social relationships, finding employment, and participating in recreational activities. She will use her own personal experience to illustrate the concept of attitude and no limits.
Lindsay Yazzolino will discuss the challenges facing blind students and professionals as they participate in scientific fields in her talk “The Excitement of Being a Blind Tech Enthusiast: Leveraging Modern Technology to Empower Today’s Blind Students and Professionals. ” She will discuss how many of these barriers are reversible, and can be overcome through a combination of educational resources (both high- and low-tech), personal drive, and an overall belief in the capabilities of blind people. She will highlight several assistive and mainstream technologies which have helped her and many others to pursue a career in the sciences.
All three will discuss ways in which challenges that look like impossibilities can be overcome by specific training and technology, by attitude and by the larger society changing its concept of what counts as “impossible”.
On Thursday, July 25th, Mel Goodale, a Canada Research Chair and Professor at Western Ontario, will talk about the neuroscience behind how/why human echolocation works in his talk “’Visual’ Activity in the Blind Brain: Neural Underpinnings of Echolocation in the Blind”. He will explain how the blind brain can exploit what would normally be visual areas for processing information from sound and how echolocation enables blind people to do things that are otherwise thought to be impossible without vision.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe: “Treat people as if they were what they ought to be and you help them become what they are capable of being.”
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