Finding Love Online With a Disability
Let’s get loved up, after all, it is cuffing season
I’m a firm believer that any good person can find love, and that includes people with disabilities. I should know, I found my true love at 22 with the help of a dating site called OkCupid. My name is Miranda and I was born with Cerebral Palsy; I have to use a wheelchair to get around.
With the right attitude and precautions, the Internet can be a powerful tool for helping people with disabilities find love. I’m not saying everyone with a disability should use the online method, I’m sure plenty of disabled people have found a partner without it. However, if you’ve exhausted all avenues in the real world, online dating apps and websites are a lucrative option.
Throughout my dating life, I have found partners both online and offline. The majority of them were online. Why? I just find it easier that way. If someone viewed my dating profiles, they saw up front that I am disabled and can decide for themselves if they want to proceed.
I have had people in real life find me attractive, but they couldn’t deal with a disability, and that’s valid. I’ve also had people claiming they “missed out” on me because they didn’t know how to proceed with the Cerebral Palsy. And, to them, I say, “I’m sorry. I’m sure you’ll find your match.”
Online dating profiles take out all the guesswork. If you want to give me a shot, send a message; if you don’t, move on to the next profile. My partner took a chance on me in June of 2012.
The first thing that caught my attention about his message to me was that it wasn’t creepy. Disability or not, all women have dealt with their fair share of creepers online. I’ve gotten gems like “you’d look good in a bikini,” or my favorite, “I’ve always wanted to make it with a girl in a wheelchair.” That one made me shutter.
His simply said, “Hi, I think you’re really cute, and I would love to get to know you better.” Short, sweet, and to the point. My man is sometimes a man of little words.
I clicked on his profile, and it was pretty bare. It only said, “I hate writing these things. Message me if you want to know more.” I was a little turned off by that. As a writer, I’m a sucker for a good communicator, and my own profile was novel-length by profile standards. However, his message seemed so genuine that I couldn’t ignore it.
We ended up swapping phone numbers and starting to communicate by texts and calls. After a month of this, we set a date to meet in person. Did sparks immediately fly? Haha. No way.
The thing about me is that I get nervous around people I find attractive. And, I found him very attractive. The man didn’t even bat an eye when I asked him if I could bring a friend to the first meeting. I think all women should do this, especially those with disabilities. It’s a safety net. He even brought a couple of friends along so I wouldn’t have to feel awkward about needing someone. What a guy!
This may not feel like a big deal to some, but I had a guy go off on me once for not wanting to go alone to a bar with him. We had only met once prior! My alarms went off, and I certainly dodged a bullet after he tore me a new one for it.
Unfortunately, the first meeting didn’t go well because I clammed up. But, here’s the thing, if someone is really into you, they will make it known. He didn’t give up after that. He suggested we meet up in a more intimate setting to really get to talk. With my grandmother present, I invited him over to my apartment, and the sparks flew!
He was very kind and polite when my Gram would pop out of her room to talk to us. We bonded over Disney movies and musicals and had a great time! Ten years later, I’m living with him, and he is an amazingly loving and kind partner that helps me when I need him. I couldn’t ask for anyone better!
What I want others with disabilities to take away from this are a few things. Try online dating if you haven’t found what you’re looking for in the real world. It might work out for you, or it might not. What matters is that you gave it a try.
If you try the online route, don’t automatically dismiss a lacklustre profile. If I had done that, I would have never gotten all of these happy years. Give them a chance if they send you a genuine message that shows you they are into YOU and not what they can DO with you.
Finally, the sparks don’t always hit on the first meeting. After my experience with my partner, I usually advise people to give it a couple of dates before they decide to move further. Some people are overwhelmed during the first meeting and may do better the second time. I’m sure glad he stuck with me!
Please remember that your disability doesn’t define you. You are worthy and capable of receiving and giving love. It just may take a while to find it. We’re all in the same boat in that respect.
Travelodge Incident Highlights the Importance of Disability Inclusion in Accommodations
Travelodge is involved in a distressing incident that underscores the challenges faced by individuals with disabilities. a woman who relies on a wheelchair and overnight ventilator support found herself sleeping on a Travelodge dining room sofa after being informed that the accessible room she had paid for was “out of order.”
Kat Watkins, who lives with brittle bone disease and sleep apnea, expressed her ongoing pain and frustration nearly four weeks after the incident on April 26th, which has significantly impacted her confidence in travelling.
As a 36-year-old UN development officer at Disability Wales, Ms. Watkins had planned her trip from South Wales to see James Bay perform at the Royal Albert Hall. However, upon arriving at the Travelodge in Hounslow, she was informed that all the accessible rooms were unavailable due to maintenance issues.
With no alternative rooms accessible to her, the hotel arranged for a taxi to transport Ms. Watkins to an accessible room at the Twickenham Travelodge after the concert. This arrangement was necessary because many Tube stations lack wheelchair access.
Unfortunately, when Ms. Watkins returned to Hounslow at 12:30 am, the hotel staff was unable to find a suitable taxi, and all the previously “out of order” rooms had been filled.
With no resolution reached by 2:30 am, Ms. Watkins, already fatigued and in pain, along with her PA, Anabela, were left with no choice but to sleep on two sofas in the hotel’s dining room.
Travelodge, in response to the incident, has extended a sincere apology to Ms. Watkins and her PA. They acknowledge that they failed to meet their usual high standard of service and should have informed Ms. Watkins before check-in that her room was unavailable and her booking had been relocated to a nearby hotel.
Mobility Issues to Enter and Exit Cars: Insights from Toyota and RCOT
Toyota has partnered with the Royal College of Occupational Therapists (RCOT) to provide tips for people with mobility issues who may find it challenging to get into or out of a car. Karin Orman, RCOT Director of Practice and Innovation, says that there are many simple ideas and adjustments to help people of all ages and with a range of conditions overcome these difficulties.
To demonstrate this, Toyota spent a day with two occupational therapists and John Healy, who uses a walking stick, a walker, or a mobility scooter. The therapists demonstrated ways to help John get into and out of two different size cars: a Toyota Aygo X and a Corolla Touring Sports.
Modern cars like the Toyota Aygo X and Corolla Touring Sports can be easily adjusted to make access easier and safer for passengers and drivers with restricted mobility. For example, the seat can be moved back to create more space, and the seat belts and steering column can be adjusted for comfort and safety. It’s also important to think about how to transport mobility equipment and where it will fit in the car or boot to make access easier and safer.
When getting into a car, it’s important to work out the safest place to put your hands to provide support. Instead of balancing on a walking frame, you could use the frame of the car or roof-mounted grab handles. Alternatively, you might want to consider getting a portable door handle. Once sitting down, you can use a swivel cushion to help you get into the right position. A leg lifter can help get legs over the sill of the car, and if a car is too high, using a step could help.
When parking, it’s important to identify potential hazards to avoid difficulties when getting in or out of the car. Try to park on a level surface and make sure there is enough room to open the door fully so that the driver and passenger can both get out easily and safely retrieve any mobility aids. If you’re going on a long journey, plan breaks where you can have a rest and rehydrate, especially if you have a health condition that makes you tired.
My Story: Maddie Gordon
Maddie’s story is one of extraordinary courage and resilience. When she fell over a loose pavement slab at school, she could not have imagined the impact that it would have on her life. Although she carried on with her day as usual, the pain in her wrist never subsided. She was dismissed from first aid multiple times & only after X-rays, splints, and plaster casts, Maddie was diagnosed with CRPS when the feeling of the cast being cut off my arm felt like electricity burning through her veins
Complex Regional Pain Syndrome is a chronic condition that affects the nervous system and causes excruciating pain. It’s a condition that Maddie has lived with for almost a decade, and it has affected every aspect of her life. The pain was so severe that it spread throughout her entire body, leaving one of her legs paralysed. At one point, she even had to rely on a wheelchair and assistance from her mother for daily tasks like washing and dressing.
Despite the physical and emotional pain that she was going through, Maddie refused to let her condition define her. She turned to sports as a way to cope and found a new sense of purpose and belonging. Wheelchair racing gave her a sense of community, while basketball helped her to channel her competitive spirit.
It was powerlifting that gave Maddie a renewed sense of purpose and drive. In just over a year and a half, she has achieved incredible feats, including lifting an impressive 225kg in a seated deadlift. What’s more impressive is that she’s competed against able-bodied rivals and won, proving that disabled people are just as capable as anyone else.
Maddie is determined to inspire and empower others, especially those who face challenges due to disabilities. She’s currently training to become a personal trainer, with the goal of helping others realise their full potential. Maddie’s story is a powerful reminder that with determination and hard work, anything is possible. She’s a true inspiration, and her achievements are a testament to the human spirit’s resilience.