Kate Giles

A portrait photo of Kate Giles
Kate Giles

My background is nursing and disability support. When I began losing my sight to retinitis pigmentosa, I decided to study journalism and creative writing. Travel and peoples' experience with disabilities is my main focus. I have been published in mainstream as well as the disability sectors. Reading, writing, going to the movies, dining out and travelling are my main interests.

I strive to live life to the fullest. I have many interests and love to travel. Writing about my experiences is also a passion. I especially want to encourage other people to be active by sharing my experiences.

Kate Giles's articles

Two forks lying on a dining table with wine glasses in the background
Two forks lying on a dining table with wine glasses in the background

I fumble around to rearrange tableware into the safest possible position

I have vision loss. It can make dining at a restaurant difficult. I need lighting that is not too dark or light. There is also a lot to consider when ordering food. I need a menu with large print. I also need to order something easy to eat. Cutting up food can be difficult. It can be embarrassing when a big piece of food is on my fork. I also cannot see when people are bringing things to the table. My friend usually warns me. Once I knocked a waiter and my plate of food went everywhere.
2 comments - last comment on 13/09/2011
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A steep brown ladder leading up to a platform high in the trees.

I am not going to let fear beat me

The Borneo Tree Top Canopy Walk is amazing. It is high above one of the oldest rainforests in the world. It is a great place to visit. But the walk is very long and steep. I have a vision impairment. I found the narrow rope bridges very scary. They swung from side to side. I had a very bad experience. I was terrified. But I am determined not to let fear beat me. I am going to do the walk again.
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mother in wheelchair hugging daughter

I had just done an awesome job

I smiled as I handed the grandchildren back to their parents. It is not easy to look after someone else when you have a disability. I have a vision impairment. I found it very tiring looking after my grandchildren for two weeks. Julie also has vision loss. She is now living with her elderly mother. Julie says her mother has become very needy. Julie has had to cut back her work hours. She has become depressed. Kathy has also started to lose her vision. But she decided to put her needs first. Kathy decided she could no longer look after her father.
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Two large white sailing boats sailing next to each other

Experiencing the thrill of sailing

People with vision impairment can experience sailing. A program called In the Cockpit takes people out on sail boats. The program is run by the Royal Geelong Yacht Club and the Corio Bay Lions Club. The sailors are very experienced. I really enjoyed this year's event. Nothing else matters when you are out on the water. It was also great to hear the stories of past sailing adventures. When we got back we had lunch at the yacht club. I am already looking forward to next year's event.
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A Horsham street completely underwater, cutting off access to nearby buildings.

Many Victorians were isolated during the recent floods

I find Facebook is a great way to keep in touch. I use it to send messages to many faraway friends. One of the first online communities began back in 1997. Since then we have seen sites like MySpace, Facebook and Twitter become very popular. Information can spread to millions of people very quickly. The tools are particularly useful during emergencies. Social networks can enable people to get the help they need. Technology is also being used in other ways to make the world a better place.
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A ZoomText computer keyboard featuring large black letters on yellow keys
ZoomText Keyboard

I like having a matching keyboard with ZoomText control buttons

I have been rapidly losing my vision. Using the computer has become a challenge. I decided I needed lessons to learn how to use the computer without vision. I have been going to lessons every week. I listen to the lessons using headphones. I am learning to touch type. I am also learning to use ZoomText. It is a program for people with vision impairment. It makes text easier to see. It can also read aloud what is on the screen. But it is hard to concentrate. I often get distracted. I need to keep practising.
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A brightly wrapped present with a big bow on top

Have you ever been stuck for a gift?

It is not always easy finding a gift for someone. Shopping is difficult for many people with a disability. I have found gifts with personal photos make great presents. There is a huge variety of gifts available. Some items are very cheap. Getting started is easy. Most tools have plenty of help available. I like making photo books of images from my holidays. I have also made photo books for birthday presents.
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Several people ride bareback on the back of a large elephant as another elephant looks on

An elephant ride looked like fun

Tarzan made riding an elephant look like fun. It was something I could do despite my vision loss. I decided to ride an elephant in Malaysia. I did not want to sit on a seat or in a basket. But the elephant was very big. Sitting on his back was like doing the splits. I had to hold on tight. I was tossed around. It was scary. It was such a long way down to the ground. I was glad to finally get off the elephant.
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