Seeing With Sound

The Boy Who Sees with Sound

Ben lost his sight when he was 3 due to retinal cancer. He is now hailed as the amazing, adventurous boy who sees using echolocation, much in the way bats and dolphins do. Ben skateboards, plays basketball, rides his bike (alone!), loves Playstation, dances with girls and rides horses! There doesn’t seem to be anything that Ben can’t do. His older siblings taught him tricks, such as finding seeming on his clothes to dress properly, and always told him that he could do anything.

His mother (his father passed away in 2002) sent him to mainstream schools where Ben said, “The hardest thing for me to accept is rejection, [and] I can tell when someone rejects me in some way." He knows how to read Braille and walk with a cane but often refuses to use it. Ben was 6 when he decided he wasn't going to use a cane – he calls it a stick – to get around. "You go to school and you're the only one with a stick, what's the first thing some kid's going to do? Break it in two," he says. "And then where are you? You're helpless."

" I tell people I'm not blind, I just can't see." Ben Underwood, Age 14.

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Ben is an excellent example of what it can mean to be blind. He sees the world though an adventurous attitude and a self taught skill of using sound. There are several instances when Ben “sees” better than his eye-seeing counterparts. Ben also reminds us that the definition of any challenge is “in the eye of the beholder”.

Posted by Liz McOuat