– Assistive Technology Blog

Jacqueline Child, a 29-year-old woman living with a disability, faced continued rejection and discrimination on major dating apps. This struggle, stemming from her invisible disabilities such as lupus and dysautonomia, prompted her to co-found a dating app specifically for people with disabilities along with her sister Alexa in 2021. The app, called Dateability, aims to provide a space where disabled community can engage in casual dating and relationships without the stigma and challenges found on other platforms. Jacqueline’s experience highlights the need for more inclusive dating environments and the importance of discussing the experience of disability in the context of dating and romance.

Jacqueline’s journey towards self-acceptance and her search for love have been significantly influenced by her health issues. Having undergone more than 40 surgeries for multiple medical conditions, she struggled with the stigma associated with her disability and often felt ashamed and unworthy. These feelings were reinforced by hurtful comments and rejection in her love life. However, through therapy, Jacqueline confronted her internalized ableism and came to appreciate the value of sharing experiences with others who have chronic illnesses. This change in perspective led her to seek a more supportive and inclusive dating environment, culminating in the creation of Dateability.

Dateability, launched in October 2022, is the only free dating app designed exclusively for the disabled and chronically ill community. With nearly 11,000 users, the platform provides a safe and inclusive environment where people can openly disclose their disabilities through a feature called Dateability Deets. This has significantly reduced the pressure and anxiety around dating for its users. The success of the app is evident in its positive impact on users’ lives, as many find meaningful connections and even move toward cohabitation. For Jacqueline, Dateability has been more than just an app; It has given her a sense of purpose and increased her self-confidence, transforming her life beyond the realm of dating.

Dateability is available at iOS, Androidand on the web at dateabilityapp.com.

Lived experience as a disabled person by Matthew Shapiro

In this insightful video, Matthew Shapy of Richmond, Virginia, a person with disabilities and founder of Six Wheels Consulting, shares his experiences in both his professional and personal life. Born prematurely and now in a wheelchair, Matthew talks about his journey from the challenges of early life in the NICU to spearheading efforts to improve disability inclusion. He delves into his love affairs and details the learnings and obstacles of the relationships he has had, including with other people with disabilities.

Matthew’s involvement with Dateability, a platform that helps disabled people date, highlights the social stigmas and challenges they face in finding genuine partners. He emphasizes the importance of empathy, intellectual and emotional connection, and acceptance in relationships, particularly understanding the needs associated with disabilities. The video sheds light on the unique dynamics of dating within the disability community and the importance of fostering supportive connections.

Fountain: Business Well-informed person

This blog was written primarily using chatGPT, a potential tool for greater accessibility. Do you think this is an appropriate use of chatGPT? Why or why not? Let me know!

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