Stevenage blind man on life in the dark
- Credit: Archant
Blind since birth, business owner Steve Nutt says his disability has never held him back, with technology “opening up the world” for him. Speaking to the Comet, he gives an insight into his life in darkness.
Diagnosed with retinoblastoma – eye cancer – soon after he was born, Mr Nutt had both eyes removed when he was just three months old.
Mr Nutt, of Exeter Close in Stevenage, is now 53.
He went to a boarding school for blind children when he was seven and said: “I was quite glad of it and got a good grounding in Braille. I think blind children [in mainstream schools] get excluded by the other kids in the playground. I didn’t mind school.
“When I came home I played with sighted children and was one of the boys. I didn’t really get excluded and I haven’t suffered any abuse.”
By the time he was seven Mr Nutt had the reading age of a 10-year-old, and says he can read Braille very quickly.
He left school at the age of 17 and went to the Royal National College for the Blind to study typing.
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After four years at the college, he left and went straight into a job working as a typist for a life insurance company.
“I was very lucky,” said Mr Nutt.
“Nowadays I think there’s more discrimination than there was then.”
He stayed in that job until 1996, when he was made redundant.
It was then he started his own business from home – Computer Room Services – transcribing print into Braille before branching out into consultancy and computer support.
He runs the business with his wife Angie, 55, who he met at college.
“We work hard to provide goods and services that aid in the every day independence of the blind,” he said.
“Our unique selling point is that we are blind and we know what blind people need. If it doesn’t work for us we won’t sell it.”
Mr Nutt is a self-confessed “computer geek” and has a passion for technology, but he says there is a general lack of education about what technological support is available for blind people.
“I don’t think blind people get the most out of it,” he said.
“I don’t like specialist equipment for the blind because you pay £5,000 and it’s old technology. It keeps you behind the curve.
“My passion is now to get out to as many blind people as I can that you don’t have to spend lots of money. I use a normal computer and add Braille and whatever else I need to it.
“I don’t have a guide dog because I don’t like dogs. I can use an ultrasonic torch, which vibrates when you are near an object.
“Machines can tell me what colour things are when I’m getting dressed. A blind person can walk around using GPS, so they know what street they’re in.”
Mr Nutt says “technology has opened up the world” to him, but there are some things technology cannot replace.
“I can’t fill in cheques or read handwritten letters, for example,” he said.
But asked if he feels he is missing out on life in any way, Mr Nutt is adamant he is not.
He added: “If you tell me the grass is green, so what? I don’t need to know that.”