Ethan David Loch is 12 years old. For all that time, he has never seen what his Mum or Dad look like, and has never seen the beauty of his homeland, Scotland.
Yes, Ethan was born blind. But he has learned to ‘see with sound’, and it’s making a profound difference in his life. So much so, that he now wants to share that difference with other blind children in Central Scotland.
Ethan is raising funds for World Access for the Blind (WAFTB), an international non-profit organisation based in California which teaches blind persons of all ages the life-changing technique of FlashSonar™, a specialised form of human echolocation.
Similar to how bats, dolphins and whales navigate, blind students are taught to click their upper palate with their tongue to send out sharp flashes of sound waves that bounce-off the surrounding environment and reflect back echoes - audible impulses - that light up the brain’s visual cortex with spatial imagery. This scientifically-proven method activates the area of the brain normally used for sight, and over time blind persons can learn to distinguish objects from one another, whether they be buildings, trees, cars or people.
The work of Daniel Kish and his Team of Perceptual Navigation Instructors has taken blind mobility to a whole new level and they are the world experts in it. This has truly made a life-changing difference in Ethan’s life. Their work has taught Ethan to gain a better understanding of his environment, challenging him to develop a whole new range of self-directed skills that give him greater confidence, and independence. Instead of being a passive presence in his school or at home like many blind children, Ethan lives each day participating fully in the world around him with greater independence, and determination. He has, with the tuition provided, walked busy streets; oriented himself 'round his school; climbed a mountain; and even ridden his bike without the limitation of a guide.
Ethan is, step-by-step, increasing his level of what WAFTB calls ‘Perceptual Freedom’. And now, Ethan is raising funds to bring that freedom to other blind children in Central Scotland.
Ethan is diving right in to the MacTuff Kids 3km obstacle race on Sunday the 16th of April, which is located at the Knockhill Race Track near Dunfermline in Fife. This is a obstacle course which hosts one of Scotland's toughest races - a 15km in early January, along with several other challenging events throughout the year. Ethan will face thigh deep mud, water obstacles, cargo nets, monkey bars and very uncertain terrain. The organisers have kindly agreed to provide assistance to allow Ethan to participate in the event and complete the course.
This will be the first time that Ethan has attempted such an undertaking!!
We kindly ask you to donate what you can to help Ethan and World Access For The Blind bring Perceptual Freedom to more blind children in our area, and hope you will wish Ethan all the best in this challenge.