Shawn Marsolais and Blind Beginnings

Moving On: A Hard Road

CBC TV - February, 2007

This segment is very informative, inspiring, and genuine. Shawn exercised great courage to undertake this challenge under less than ideal circumstances, and under the scrutiny of the media. Many of the difficulties that Shawn faced in our instruction stemmed from her only having had access to a standard road bike at the time of filming. We would normally conduct training at the beginning levels with either a BMX FreeStyle bike with a hand brake, or a Mountain Bike, as these are easier to balance, and generally position ones body in a more ergonomically comfortable form. Shawn herself couldn't believe the difference when she was later finally able to get her hands on a mountain bike. Also, we would normally spend an additional day of perceptual development to prepare a student for bike handling, but Shawn's schedule and the filming schedule only allowed one and a half days. Shawn's dedication to her work with families, and to her own performance as an athlete is exemplary and admirable.

Blind Beginnings: History and Official Website

Shawn was inspired by Daniel Kish and Brian Bushway to start Blind Beginnings, after she commissioned them to conduct several workshops for the CNIB in 2006. Here's the story.

FlashSonar: Seeing with Sound

Fox News L.A. - April, 2007
By Christina Gonzalez

This documentary of our workshop with Shawn is an excellent overview of our approach, showcasing our instructional and recreational programs, and contains reports from several parents. It is this workshop, which Shawn coordinated through the Canadian Institute for the Blind, which inspired her to establish Blind Beginnings.

Blind Beginnings: Daniel Kish and FlashSonar

Accessible Media Vancouver - January, 2012
By Michelle Creedy

Reports on our workshop sponsored by Blind Beginnings. Addresses our philosophies about perception based and person-centered instruction, and freedom.

Blind Beginnings - Shawn Marsolais

The Official Westcoast Reader - April 3, 2013
By Nancy Carson

ABiographical sketch of Shawn Marsolais, and her founding of Blind Beginnings with Daniel Kish's involvement. "Former Paralympian Shawn Marsolais started Blind Beginnings to offer activities, leadership training, and support to visually impaired children and their families. … After hearing about a man called Daniel Kish, Shawn invited him to come to Vancouver. … After having time with Kish, Shawn decided to start her own non-profit organization."

Radar-like 'inner vision' helps blind learn to navigate beyond preconceived limits

The Globe and Mail - June 01 2011,

"the 45-year-old [Kish] is collaborating with neuroscientists at the University of Western Ontario to learn more about how human echolocation works … It is the first brain imaging study on human echolocation … Mel Goodale, the senior researcher on the project, says that while the scientific investigation is at an early stage, it is already clear that the technique 'enables blind people to do things that are otherwise thought to be impossible without vision.'" "'Before I met Daniel I wasn't even aware that echolocation existed and how useful it could be,' she [Shawn Marsolais] says. … Inspired by his "no limits" philosophy, she has set up her own non-profit group, Blind Beginnings. It helps Vancouver families with blind or visually impaired children and offers programs that help them explore their communities. She would like to bring Mr. Kish to Vancouver at least once a year."

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