My brave blind student

I’ve been thinking a lot about a blind student I worked with a few years ago. Let’s call him Jack.

Jack was diabetic and totally blind. He relied on JAWS screen reading software for his studies. He also had a sighted helper who was following the same course of study.

Jack hoped to get a degree in computing and work as a programmer. It is quite difficult for someone blind to program but far from impossible. Everyone who knew him hoped he would succeed.

I tutored him on two of the Open University courses he took. We had regular telephone conversations, two or three times a week for nearly two years. I got to know him well and kept in touch after that.

Jack was a brave and determined student and was close to getting his degree. Unfortunately his health began to fail. He was admitted to hospital. When we last spoke he still hoped to achieve his ambition.

Shortly after that I received an email with just his name as the subject line.

I didn’t have to read the message to guess what it would say.

I attended the degree ceremony in Ely Cathedral at which Jack was awarded his degree posthumously. His helper collected the degree certificate on his behalf.

I miss Jack, so I thought I would write a small tribute to him.

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About partialinsight

One evening I had a stroke. Half my sight vanished overnight. Adapting made me grasp how amazing the visual system and brain are. It also taught me to understand disability completely differently and I'm grateful for the lesson.
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