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

xmas pudding

My favourite is plum pudding.

There is a lot to like about celebrating Christmas. My favourite is plum pudding. This Christmas treat has a history dating back to 1430 when meals were prepared in a large pot over an open fire. For special occasions these dinners were served with a wine sauce. There were many customs and superstitions surrounding the Christmas pudding. Over the years the customs and superstitions may have changed but the pudding still tastes mighty good.
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The personalised OwnFone screen.

The keypad can have large print.

These days most people own a smart phone. And while the majority of people are lost without such a device, some phone companies are now realising smart phones are not on everyone’s wish list. I have friends that prefer basic and compact mobile phones that are easy to use and not expensive. There are now many choices available when it comes to the right phone for the right person.
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Ceramic figurines depicting the nativity scene.
Nativity scenes and songs date back to the Middle Ages.

Nativity scenes and songs date back to the Middle Ages.

It’s that time of the year when the sounds of Christmas are everywhere. Hearing my favourite carol makes me think about the tradition of singing carols at Christmas. Carols have a long history dating back to the middle ages. Nativity scenes, plays and Christmas songs were developed in the 13th century. In 1647 Christmas songs were banned in England because they were seen as being inappropriate. Many of the Christmas festivities we know today were re- adopted in England in the 19th century.
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Students sitting in a gym facing Gary.
There are lots of questions.

There are lots of questions.

It was a game of basketball with a difference. Replacing the squeal of sneakers on the court came the sound of clashing wheelchairs. With the cheers of about 30 teenagers from the sideline, the game was on in earnest. And as the students from Victoria University Secondary College in St Albans were finding out, this match wasn't so much about winning or losing. It was about the challenges of life when using a wheelchair. The game was part of the Wheeltalk School Awareness Program that encourages people to think about diversity, disability and acceptance.
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Two women sitting and facing one another. Their faces aren't shown.

Counselling got me back on track.

When people learn that I am vision impaired, more often than not I am greeted with annoying responses. Because I have challenges doesn't mean I'm abnormal or a "poor thing". Moving forward after developing a vision impairment took lots of counselling. However, it has allowed me to be independent. Dealing with feelings and learning to adapt and adjust has enriched my life. And just because my journey is different, I now have to learn how to respond to and deal with inappropriate replies.
2 comments - last comment on 24/11/2014
Ray with a big smile riding his bike by the beach.
Ray from story Life Cycles.JPG

Ray hopes his story will inspire.

Ray Losionek sees his achievements in life as a result of a "can do" attitude. Initially he wanted to walk again after becoming a double amputee at the age of eight. The next stage was learning to ride a tricycle to improve his mobility. After marrying, owning his own business and raising four boys, Ray's love of cycling continues in his retirement. However, it's now about challenging himself, keeping fit and encouraging others in less fortunate countries.
2 comments - last comment on 24/11/2014
Cyclists riding through a village street. A woman in weaving a mat on the side of the street.

We rode through charming villages.

There is nothing more exhilarating than freewheeling down the mountainside on the back of a tandem bike in Bali. Tandem bikes are sometimes not that easy to find. But after many hours of googling I stumbled across Bali Bike Baik Tours. We travelled to the top of Mount Kintamani where our bikes, including a tandem awaited. Our guide led the way through Bali's famous rice terraces, coconut groves and charming little villages where we learned about the lifestyles of Balinese people. The tour ended with a delicious traditional Balinese banquet. I cannot wait to do it all again.
1 comment - on 24/11/2014
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A photo of the driver's seat, steering wheel and the dashboard.

To give up driving was overwhelming.

My friend Pete has just been told his vision has deteriorated to the stage where it is no longer safe for him to drive. For many people like Pete, having to give up driving is usually the first step into a world of disability. It can feel like a world of limitations and challenges. Taking this step causes all sorts of emotional reactions throwing even the most reasonable and responsible people into denial and despair. And as both John and Lindsay found out, stepping out of the driver's seat came with a fear of what the future might bring.
4 comments - last comment on 02/07/2014
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The Apple iPad with a series of icons on the screen and a picture of a lake with mountains in the background. The device has a black border around the screen.

NDIS to cover mainstream devices?

When I first started losing my vision the amount of available gadgets to keep me as independent as possible was amazing. And if I thought this was wonderful, the progress in technology during the past 20 years has been mind-blowing. The cost of such technology is out of reach for many. However, the introduction of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) comes with a promise of more individual support. There is hope some of this support will come through adaptive and mainstream devices. Many of these gadgets can help break down confronting barriers, and lead to a better quality of life for people with a disability.
1 comment - on 13/05/2014
A woman wearing a pair of headphones using a computer.

I have a voice program that reads to me.

The Computer Café at my local TAFE college has me learning new ways to keep me functioning effectively without sight. Before this program, many people with disabilities thought learning computers wouldn’t be possible. But with a high level of support, people are not only learning about using computers but also increasing their prospects and enhancing their lives. It’s a small program making a huge difference.
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