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BLIND DATE

It's complicated. Source: iStockphoto/Getty Images

A Vision Australia pilot program is hoping to provide dating support to the vision impaired. The Table for One program will bring together anyone looking for tips and advice on how to navigate the dating world without full sight.

Sarah Taylor is a single mother of two, who is dating again after her marriage broke down.
Ms Taylor says times have certainly changed since she was last on the dating scene.
"It was somewhat overwhelming, but it is possible. I think it's been educational"

Ms Taylor has low-vision, and says that some of the modern advancements in dating have proven to be a blessing.
"Previously, I wouldn't be able to see anybody until I got close enough to kiss them. So, now, with apps and photos, you can kind of zoom in and have a look at somebody up close, before you make that decision."

Whether it's difficulty on how to broach the subject of vision impairment, a struggle to read the menu at a restaurant, or not being able to properly navigate around a venue - dating with impaired vision isn't easy.
That's why Ms Taylor is facilitating the Table for One Telelink program for Vision Australia.
Table for One will be an online open forum, where people from the vision impaired community can discuss their dating experiences, provide dating advice and general support.
Ms Taylor says one of the keys to dating with a vision impairment is confidence.
"Self confidence is a big one. Just being comfortable in yourself will translate across. Skilling up and being confident in your ability, I think really helps you put your best foot forward. Things like that."

Nemoy Malcolm is the emotional and support programs supervisor at Vision Australia.
Mr Malcolm says dating is a big enough challenge as it is before any vision impairment becomes a factor.
He says Table for One is the ideal setting for people to share their experiences.
"There are a lot of challenges with getting ready to consider dating, and when you add vision impairment to that, the challenges increase. And so, I've spoken to many people who really want the opportunity to connect with others who are also in a similar situation, as it relates to feeling confident about stepping into that dating arena, and just want to talk to others about how they're doing it."
 
Table for One launches next Wednesday May 27th at 6pm in the east.
Anyone interested needs to be a client of Vision Australia to join.
Mr Malcolm explains the discussion format.
"People will come together for one hour in a facilitated discussion, to talk about the challenges that they're having around building that confidence, around some of the challenges that they've anticipated, or some of the challenges they've had in the past. Together as a group, discussions will be had around the successes that people have had, and where challenges exist, folks will share tips and strategies for how they might've overcome those challenges."
 
Ms Taylor has a degree in psychology and wants to pursue a career in research of people with disabilities.
She's been dating for three years now - and says acceptance of her situation has helped her build the confidence she hopes she can pass on to others, from next week.
"Absolutely. I think when you're self accepting of your circumstances and everything, I think that translates to cost of confidence, absolutely yes."

Broadcast: 21 May 2020

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