The story of Julianne Bell, who was born blind but learned to navigate the world using an echolocation technique pioneered by Daniel Kish.
Publish Date: Feb 25, 2021
A really neat story about how a blind woman learned to navigate the world around her using an echolocation technique pioneered by Daniel Kish. Juliene Bell was born blind and for the majority of her life, she only felt comfortable traveling by holding onto someone else's arm. But once she learned to echolocate, she took a solo trip to California, where she fell off a cliff.
so we wanted to give you a podcast bonus. This is a really neat story about Echo location. There was no room for it in our show, but we wanted to share it with you. So it's about echo location and trying to learn it. Onda Geun echolocation is this. It's a technique that's used by an increasing number of people who are blind. They listen to how those clicks bounce off the world around them. And from the sound of the clicks coming back, they can make sense of the world in very, very riel and specific ways. The technique was popularized by the man who is on our show this week. Daniel, Kish and Lulu. You talked to a woman who tried toe learn this technique, but had some unexpected complications. Right? Right. So, police, would you like to know a really great way to make a good clicking sound? Yeah. All right. Well, just do what Daniel Kish told Julian Bell. Imagine licking peanut butter off the roof of your mouth. And as soon as I did that, I got my click. Thank you. Peanut butter. Julian Bell has been blind since birth and first heard about echolocation when she was 38 years old and the mother of two boys. Up until that point, she had spent her whole life getting around unfamiliar places on someone's arm. I really didn't feel that I had any other option, even though there were blind people that I knew who traveled MAWR independently than I did, I quite simply did not have the emotional ability to manage that. My anxiety would be too high, she said. She felt too nervous with a cane or a guide dog. Physically, I would be like serious butterflies, like when you're about to go on stage or you're about to do something really scary. But when I'm holding onto someone's, um, it was like the world returned. Yeah. In fact, it was her husband's arm she fell in love with. First, his arm literally reached out and rescued her when a careless boyfriend had left her alone and terrified one night in college. The feel of his arm is quite unique. In a sense, I'd never get it confused with anybody else, you know. And Thomas, her husband, loved having her on his arm to it was quite a nice feeling toe have her on my arm. It sort of brought us closer together, which would eventually make Daniel kisses echolocation lessons. Hello. Ah, problem. Hi. Hi. This'd is Daniel Kish Theater for mentioned expert clicker who Julian hired to give her echolocation lessons after she happened to hear about him on the TV one day. And once he had helped Julian master her click, Daniel turned to a much more difficult thing to conquer, letting go of the arm. He told her that when you hold onto the arm too much, you have, in fact, failed to activate the neurology that that is critical for freedom to occur. So he urged her to forgo the arm as much as possible. I would find myself walking very close. I would sort of hover, which was hard for Thomas. Yeah, he just wanna grab and be like, no go this way. And her two sons, Daniel and Joshua. Yeah, it was daunting and scary. It is. It's an emotional thing. I would invariably not take his arm and it was just tense. He was tense. I was tense. Everybody was tense, but little by little, she got more comfortable with clicking until finally she was so confident that she decided to do something that just months before would have been absolutely unthinkable. Travel alone to California to Go hiking with Daniel Sunny Summer Day, Summer day in Los Angeles in the canyons of Los Angeles. A flash forward. Beautiful. It's Daniel and Julianne and a few of Daniel's friends hiking along a steep ravine. We're hiking along La la la. Went out of the blue. We heard a scream and a slight east oily sound. Andi, I went straight down the side of the cliff. At a certain point, she hits rock and starts rolling log rolling down the side really fast. I'm trying to grab on with anything I had. I lost my car and I lost my walking stick. And you have no idea how. How is this gonna end? Thankfully, a friend of Daniel's, he jumped down and helped her roll to a stop, and when she realized she was battered, bruised but OK, her first thought was that for family