Blind People Can See Like Bats

June 7, 2011

Unlocking Word Meanings
Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

1. clicking (adj.) – describing a sound that is slight and sharp, as in a shoe heel hitting the floor
Example: The clicking sound of his shoe annoys me.

2. echo (n.) – a sound repeated as it bounces off a solid structure, like a wall
Example: I heard the echo of my voice when I shouted on top of the mountain.
3. visual (n.) – something that is related to sight or the sense of seeing
Example: Painting is an example of visual art.

4. rehabilitation (n.) – the process of restoring  good health, condition, or operation (usually of someone or something)
Example: Treatment for alcohol and drug addiction is offered in some rehabilitation centers.    

5. navigate (v.) – to walk around in order to find one’s way
Example: Soldiers navigate through the thick forest using their compass.

Read the text below.

Canadian researchers discovered the part of the brain which make blind people see like a bat.

Some blind people find their way around a space by using echolocation. This technique involves making clicking sounds and listening to the echoes produced by these sounds. Bats and dolphins are known to use the same technique to get a sense of what their environment looks like.

Two people who have been blind for years and who are experts in echolocation were involved in an experiment. They were asked to echolocate listening to recorded sounds while researchers record their brain activity.  

The findings showed that the visual part of the brain, known as calcarine cortex, is activated during echolocation. This means that even though they are blind, they use the part of the brain used by normal people in order to see things.

Susie Roberts, a rehabilitation officer who helps blind people, says that this finding can help them understand how some blind people navigate. This might likewise help improve the way echolocation is taught to blind people which can let them move around on their own.

Viewpoint Discussion
Enjoy a discussion with your tutor. 

Discussion A

·         What normal activities can blind people still do?
·         What are some ways which can help blind people live normally?

Discussion B

·         Do you think it is possible for blind people to live by themselves? Why or why not?
·         How do you think can you help people who are visually impaired?

June 7, 2011