President, World Access for the Blind
Daniel Kish was born in March, 1966 in Montebello, California. Diagnosed with retinoblastoma, which is an aggressive cancer of the retina, he lost one eye and then the other by the age of 13 months. He went to mainstream schools and relied almost exclusively on echolocation to orient himself, though at the time neither he nor his mom had any concept of what he was doing. “There was no one to explain it, there was no one to help me enhance it, and we all just kind of took it for granted,” he says. “My family and friends were like, ‘Yeah, he does this funny click thing and he gets around.’” They called it his radar. Navigating new places, he says, was like solving a puzzle. Kish attended the University of California Riverside, California State University San Bernadino, and CSU LA, earning two Master’s degrees – one in developmental psychology, and one in special education. He wrote a thesis on the history and science of human echolocation, and as part of that devised one of the first echolocation training programs.