Born with hearing and sight, but had lost both for a while by the time he entered the Glasgow Blind Asylum at age 7 in 1901. His case was unusual in that the Asylum experimented with assigning him a full-time companion, Robert Bruton, a "normal" boy of 12, to concentrate on teaching McLean articulation. This lasted almost 2 years, 1901-1904, until McLean had progressed well enough that Bruton was reassigned to other tasks. McLean entered the school's print shop at age 16, but drops out of the records after that.
Touch, Touch, and Touch Again, p.70-76.