I’d like to introduce you to Sue Martin. Sue works for The United States Department of Veterans Affairs as a Section 508 management analyst. One of her current projects is insuring that VA employees who use assistive technology, including ZoomText, have a smooth transition as the VA rolls out Windows 7 enterprise wide.
Prior to taking the position with the Section 508 team, Sue was the subject matter expert for the computer training section at one of the VA’s blind rehab centers. Sue not only taught veterans with visual impairments to use ZoomText, she also taught her colleagues how to teach it. The VA blind rehab center in Tucson needed more staff members who could teach ZoomText, so they sent one of their instructors to work with Sue for a week. It didn’t matter that Sue’s level of vision dictates that she accesses the computer via a blindness screen reader rather than a screen magnifier. It also was no matter that the instructor from Tucson was totally blind. With a can-do attitude, Sue sent her colleague on her way as a confident teacher of ZoomText.
Sue wrote the story of her own rehab experience several years ago but never went public with it. That is until this January, when she learned of the death by suicide of a 31-year-old woman in England. While Sue did not know this individual, she knew people who did. It took witnessing her friend’s bewilderment and sadness that propelled Sue into action; she became a woman on a mission.
Sue became blind at the age of 26 because she attempted suicide with a gun. She knew she needed to write about the lead-up to and details of her suicide attempt. If she was going to help others who were depressed, if she was going to shed light on suicidal depression, she had to vividly portray the emotions and hopelessness that she felt. Through her writing, Sue shows the reader just how bad things were and then how they got even worse. Then they got worse still. With the courage she never realized she had, she began to climb out of the whirlpool. The ten chapters that make up the story of her own rehab process take the reader right through the whole adjustment process. With honesty, warmth, and humor, Sue takes the reader along with her as she moves through despair to triumph.
Sue plans to make the preface and the story of her rehab part of a book about her life. Because of the overwhelming response from readers, both from blind rehab professionals and those adjusting to an acquired visual impairment, she has committed to making this part of her story freely available to all who want to read it. To read her story, please visit www.OutOfTheWhirlpool.com/rehabilitation.