... that kind of backfired a bit, but then it is a touchy subject.
Anyway, on with the show.
Once upon a former time, back in about 2003-4, I had the privilege of meeting Mark Threadgold - he came up to the school in Leeds where I taught when my colleague invited him to talk to the ICT students about how his life had been changed by the horrific accident that resulted in total loss of vision (optic nerves cut, part of brain removed). He's an ex-serviceman, Royal Corps of Signals, and supported by St. Dunstan's Trust.
The things he had done since his accident were amazing - up to the point of his visit he'd repeated broken the blind person's water speed record (up to just shy of 100mph when we met him, in some crazy bat-boat styled craft), and he then went on to set the "Speed Record for an IOW Circumnavigation in the Blind Unlimited Class" around the Isle of Wight, and also try his hand at diving as well. Some of his fellow St. Dunstaners had done other mad stuff, mostly for things like speed or endurance records, including the guy who took the car round the Top Gear track in less than two minutes. IIRC one chap even did a solo skydive.
He told us that only 4% of all people registered as blind in the UK had total loss of vision, which means 96% of the blind people in this country can see in some way to one degree or another.
He then went on to demonstrate most of his kit, including a personalised shoulder-mounted GPS on his HP iPaq, the various things used to help him manage his kitchen and other household areas, and his screenreader using his own PC that he'd brought along with the rest. He had set it to his normal speed, roughly as fast as the squirrel on 'Hoodwinked' after having the coffee, but he slowed it down for all of us with untrained ears to hear.
Excellent bloke, and very interesting for both the students and us. Meeting someone like that beats any amount of reading or browsing about the sorts of things that can help overcome what seem like insurmountable things to the rest of us.