Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Echolocation F.A.Q.s

Here are some frequently asked questions about learning echolocation

Q: How long does it take to learn echolocation?

It all depends on how much time you want to commit to dedicated practice, but it is possible to learn a great deal in only a few days.  The three day intensive seminar through World Access for the Blind gives people the ability to comfortably navigate in foreign environments.  

Q: What's the best click to use for echolocation?

The click recommended for use with echo location by world access for the Blind is the blade pop.  There are also many other sounds that may be useful in other situations and environments.

Q: What is the best age to start training?

Young children tend to pick up echolocation faster then adults, but people of any age can easily learn echolocation.

Q: Why would I use echolocation when I'm proficient with a cane or have a guide dog I love?

It is true most blind people feel comfortable with one of these more conventional methods.  It is suggested that you use these conventional methods in conjunction with echolocation training.  The speed, range and versatility of echolocation offers great advantages over these conventional methods.  With a cane the knowledge of your environment is limited to the length of the cane and the speed at which you wield it.  Echolocation can give you instantaneous knowledge of everything around you within 100 feet, or even more.  A guide dog may be able to show you the way, but echolocation allows you to see the way for yourself.

Q: Can I learn even though I'm sighted?

Yes.  You will be at a disadvantage and it will take you longer, but if you can hear you have everything you need to learn echolocation.

Q: At what age can I start teaching my child echolocation?

If your child is blind they will naturally be exploring the sounds around them every day.  It's never too early, or too late to starting encouraging the concept of echolocation.

Q: What is the best way to start learning echolocation?

If you are blind or visually impaired and you have a mobility instructor, tell them you're interested in learning.  If you don't have access to a mobility coach, contact World Access for the Blind.  If you're not ready for dedicated training or would like more information about it, pick up the Beginner's Guide to Echolocation, available in large print paperback and audiobook.  If you're not ready to spend money on a book sign up for the mailing list and get a free audio lesson.

Free 10-Minute Audio Lesson: Learn the Echolocation Click

Learn echolocation clicks with a free audio lesson
Learning how to click is one of the first steps to becoming an effective echoloator. This lesson provides clicking samples of a variety of different clicks and descriptions of when they might be most useful. This lesson has been used by O&M instructors all over the world.

Despite popular belief, it's easy to make your clicking quite subtle or unnoticeable even in quiet settings. There are many different clicks for different situations. I explain all of these in great detail and give examples of where, why and when they can and should be used.

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