Ross Minor was born on May 29, 1998 and is the second son of Mark and Grace Minor, with an older brother, Ryan. He was born in Virginia Beach, Virginia, where he briefly lived, until his family moved to Charlotte, North Carolina, for his mother’s job. Ross lived a fairly normal and unassuming life during those years, but things quickly took a turn for the worse in his life after he turned eight years old.
The Day Ross Went Blind
On June 14, 2006, Ross’ father went into his room while he was sleeping and shot him in the head. The bullet entered into Ross’ right temple, where it then passed through his head and imbedded itself into the palm of his hand. As a result, Ross lost all function in his right eye, as well as losing his left eye, rendering him completely blind. Ross’ father then did the same to his brother Ryan, before committing suicide. All three were rushed to the hospital, where Ross’ father was pronounced dead.
Three days later, Ryan passed away due to the bullet making contact with his brain, while Ross was left blind and without a sense of smell.
Rehabilitation and Schooling
After going blind, Ross needed to reintegrate into society and as such, he began the path to learned how to read and write braille, walk with a white cane, use technology, and interact with people in the world around him. However, none of these services came without a price for Ross’ mother. Since he was attending a private elementary school, he was ineligible for services such as a Teacher for the Visually Impaired (TVI, and an Orientation and Mobility (O&M) instructor offered through CHMS, the public school system in Charlotte, North Carolina. The solution that CHMS proposed was to bus Ross 45 minutes across the city to a classroom, where he could learn alongside other blind students. In response, Ross’ mother filed a law suit stating that with a child likely to have PTSD, it would be most beneficial for him to attend a school he was most familiar with.
This was the time Ross began to understand the challenges and hurtles he would have to overcome in order to be treated as an equal in an unaccommodating world.
In the end, Ross and his mother won the law suit, but not before he was forced to transfer to a public school due to the cost of having to pay for a TVI and O&M instructor while the law suit was pending. During his time in the education system, Ross quickly discovered the challenges of advocating for himself and to explain what assistance he needed. Many times, teachers would forget to explain what was on the board or exclude him from sight heavy tasks. In other extreme circumstances, teachers would often pair him with other students or completely exempt him from assignments to avoid having to make his materials accessible. It was only through the use of technology that allowed Ross to excel and prevented him from falling behind.
Accessibility and Advocacy
After going blind, Ross was reluctant to use technology of any kind because of how unfamiliar it was to him. It was only until he attended the Florida School for the Deaf and Blind for three years, where he began to observe and understand how technology could really help those with disabilities. Seeing the speed and proficiency at which some of his blind classmates used their computers inspired him to begin learning all he could about accessible technology and is what prompted him to delve into his computer and iPhone to unlock their potential for him.
By the age of 15, Ross was learning how to program and navigate various operating systems such as Windows, Mac OS, and Linux. Eventually, Ross found himself teaching other friends about accessible technology, which in turn, ignited his passion for educating the world about accessibility.
At the age of 17, Ross participated on /r/AMA, a subreddit that allows users to post about themselves and have people ask questions in the comments. On there, Ross shared his story to the world for the first time by explaining how he went blind, how he lived his life, and how ordinary people can make the world a more accessible space. The AMA exponentially propagated across Reddit and the internet, and before long, Ross was convinced to create a Youtube channel and share what it is like to live his life without sight. At the request of the ongoing AMA, Ross created and uploaded his very first video explaining how he plays Mortal Kombat X without sight. The video went viral and only encouraged him more to create content that educates and helps people.
After graduating from high school, Ross has continued to close the gap between the disabled and sighted world by demonstrating ways he lives his life blind, creating accessible technology reviews, and playing video games for the entire world to see He has even worked alongside developers such as EA Games to make their Madden titles more accessible to blind players. From 2018 to 2021, Ross moved to Colorado Springs, Colorado, to live and train at the Olympic and Paralympic Training Center as a Paralympic swimmer, where he went on to travel the world with Team USA and win multiple gold medals for his country.
Currently, Ross is studying full-time for a degree in Information Systems, as well as the CPACC accessibility certification in hopes to begin his career as an expert in accessibility.