Ben Underwood is the only self taught blind person in the world who saw objects by echolocation without any type of aid. Ben is blind! Ben lost his sight at the age of three, and after numerous surgeries, chemo, and radiation treatments failed, Ben's mother Aquanetta Gordon was faced with a decision no mother would want to make.
Because there were still traces of the cancer left, and if doctors didn't remove his eyes he might not have lived. The decision was made, and Ben's eyes were removed. Ben's mother never let him believe from the time he came out of surgery, to this present day he couldn't see.
At the age of seven, Ben began to click. He learned to bounce his clicks off objects around him to give him a clearer image of the object. Ben has learned to skate, ride a bike, plays basketball, and even video games.
Dr. James Reuben, Ben's eye doctor was astounded the first time he met Ben. Dr. Reuben was so impressed with Ben's abilities he contacted the local press. Ben's
sonar capability is similar to that of a submarine. Sonar operators are taught what Ben has taught himself.
Scientist at the University of Santa Barbara amazed with Ben's abilities invited him to the campus to see if they can find out how Ben navigates with a faint signal.
Ben's mother realized how exceptional her child was when she sent him to a school for the blind.
When Ben's mother relocated to give 14 year old Ben a better life, he had to relearn the dimensions of his new home, and the route to school along with the route to his karate class. Ben refuses to use a cane or guide dog.
Daniel Kish who has lost his sight like Ben at a young age to cancer, uses echolocation along with a cane, and teaches the blind how to access the world. Considered an expert Ben's mother sought out his help in order to help Ben to further his independence in the world.
Ben, like any other teenage boy craves his independence. Ben's first experience with blind people left a bad taste in his mouth, which took some time for him to believe that the blind people in Daniel Kish's group were different, and that it was even possible for him to lean something from another blind person who uses a cane.
Ben's cancer was in check until 2007, when he developed a tumor in his sinus cavity. Intensive treatment failed to knock down the disease. Aquanetta Gordon knew that her remarkable son's life on Earth soon would be over. As his life slipped away she got help from hospice nurses, family members and friends.
Ben built an enduring legacy after his story became public in The Bee in May 2006. He became a worldwide celebrity, an Internet sensation and an inspirational speaker.
A boy who touched the world of science, who will never be forgotten