Batman Mason, six, ‘sees’ by sound

Mason Dzora 6 and mum Lorraine Dzora of Doncaster. Mason is learning a form of echolocation.
Mason Dzora 6 and mum Lorraine Dzora of Doncaster. Mason is learning a form of echolocation.

A blind Doncaster child is a real life Batman – and is learning to see using sound.

Mason Dzora, aged six, has undergone training from American echolocation expert Daniel Tish to help him grow independently in a sighted world.

He has already started ‘seeing’ objects around him.

Echolocation, or flashsonar as Daniel calls it, is the method of locating objects by determining the time for an echo to return and the direction from which it returns, as by radar or sonar.

It is the same technique used by bats to navigate and hunt prey in the dark.

Schoolboy Mason, of Blake Avenue, Wheatley, is being taught to use his own clicking sound to hear what is around him – just as you would know you entered an empty room because it would be more echoey.

He is only the fourth child in the UK to be taught the technique by Daniel’s organisation.

Devoted mum Lorraine, 44, said: “It is mind-blowing to see how far he has come in these short days. Just think what his future will hold.

“Daniel was testing Mason by putting plates around him for him to find and he was locating them, it was astounding.”

Mason was born blind – he has a condition called Leber’s congenital amaurosis.

Parents Lorraine, who is now his full-time carer, and dad Mark, 41, an HGV driver, were devastated when Mason was diagnosed at eight months old.

Mum-of-six Lorraine said: “I started Googling the condition and scared myself to death, there were lots of scare stories about late development.

“I blamed myself for what had happened to him and we had quite a difficult couple of years coming to terms with him being blind.”

But Mason is the youngest of six, his older siblings are Natassja, 20, twins Peter and Michael, 18, and twins Marc and Paul, 13, and he had to fit right into the family.

Lorraine said: “There wasn’t much special treatment for Mason. He gets treated as a normal six-year-old boy.

“I realise he is far too intelligent to live a life stuck to my side, I want to give him his independence. I want to see him going to school on the school bus with his mates, not with me holding his hand.”

The couple first heard of Daniel Tish when Mason’s Visual Impairment teacher told them about a talk he was doing locally.

Daniel has been named Batman because of his technique, which means he makes a quiet clicking noise as he walks, checking out his environment.

It is this skill which allows him to avoid objects to walk in a crowd or cycle down a road. Daniel says cars are easy to avoid as they rebound sound well.

Daniel said: “Mason is doing really well. He began looking and detecting objects within 10 minutes of starting the programme. That’s very very fast.”

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