My father is blind.
Not “differently abled,” or with “sight issues,” as my mother might say.
Pretending he’s not blind, or downplaying it, makes his accomplishments seem less to me and I don’t like that.
He’s done some pretty impressive things for anyone even if they did have a full five senses. He graduated with a degree in Aerospace Engineering. He programmed his own word processor in Basic, back in the early 80s, because he couldn’t afford to buy one.
He moved to a cabin in Idaho for a couple of years. Learned to raise, butcher, and can chickens and rabbits. By touch, mind you. Learned how to cut down trees, saw them up, and split them for firewood with nothing but a crosscut saw, another person, a splitting maul, and an axe.
He couldn’t find work at anything worthwhile so he got his Master’s degree in adult engineering. Now he’s a social worker… still not working nearly up to his level because he’s so much more than that, but making a good wage. He experiments with robotics, 3-D printing, and he’s built a couple of sheds. When I was little and our washing machine broke, he figured out how to fix it, entirely by touch.
He’s a stout proponent of feminism and quite a liberated individual. He also brews beer and has made some pretty decent wine. He bakes, grinds his own flour, and makes a pretty darn good shortbread – he can even do it in a stovetop oven on a wood fired stove.
All this, because he refused to accept limitations. He, stubborn person that he is, refused to accept “you can’t” and “you shouldn’t.” I’m proud of him and he’s an inspiration to me.
Speaking of books, he just wrote one about a blind college student going through engineering courses in the 70s – though it’s fascinating to read from the perspective of a blind student, and he does use his experiences to describe things, he promises it’s not autobiographical. It’s written under his pen name. Check out Experimental College if you’re interested.