Ben Underwood, the boy who saw without eyes.
Man who sees without eyes.
Hoax or Fact:
Video messages claim to show a boy named Ben Underwood, who supposedly is blind and can yet 'see' things using the clicking noises with his tongue. Yes, it is a fact, an extraordinary talent.
About Ben Underwood
Ben Underwood is an American boy from Sacramento who was diagnosed with retinal cancer at the age of two, and had his eyes removed at the age of three. However, at the age of five, he discovered his talent of Echolocation, as he was able to detect the location of objects by making frequent clicking noises with his tongue.
As shown in the documentary video, Ben Underwood used echolocation technique to help his navigation, and even without eyes, he could accomplish feats like running, playing basketball, riding a bicycle, skateboarding and even fight a karate match.
About his Talent
As mentioned above, Ben Underwood, although blind, could locate and almost 'see' things around him using the technique called Human Echolocation. Human echolocation is the ability of humans to detect objects in their surroundings by sensing the echoes from those objects. They do this by actively creating sounds – for example, by tapping their canes, stomping their foot lightly or even making clicking noises with their mouths, like in the present case of Ben.
The boy achieved this exceptional ability from years of practice, as he 'sees' with sound. Many species like bats and dolphins use this echolocation technique to get around, and many blind people listen for echoes to certain extent. But according to experts, Ben's ability to navigate in his sightless world is extraordinary. Dan Kish, a blind psychologist and leading teacher of echomobility among the blind talks about Ben saying, "His skills are rare. Ben pushes the limits of human perception." Even Ben's child eye doctor, James Ruben MD, a Paediatric Eye Surgeon was amazed to see his ability and called Underwood as one of the most proficient human echolocators.
Ben Underwood became popular as the boy who saw without eyes, and was even featured in People's magazine and Oprah show. But unfortunately, Ben Underwood died on 19 January 2009 at the age of 16, from the same cancer that took his vision.
Experts said that Ben's mother Aquanetta Gordon played a crucial role in not letting her child down when he was blinded, which helped him develop the inspiring attitude and efforts to 'see' things. This is a good example to show how the right kind of support and effort can do the extraordinary!