Clicking like a dolphin helps blind children see in the U.K.

February 11, 2008

Blind children in the United Kingdom are being taught to "see" by using the same method used by bats, dolphins, and whales: clicking their tongues.

Glasgow, UK-According to a story in the London Times, blind children in the United Kingdom 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, according to the London Times.

The project is being pioneered by Visibility, one of Glasgow's oldest charities for the blind. In Scotland, 10 children aged 5 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 United States and has been used to teach blind Americans how to differentiate between people, trees, and buildings.

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