Dating & Disabilities: Easter Seals Releases Love & Relationships Story Series

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The disability organization’s clients and friends speak to love, marriage, caregiving, intimacy and more.

Easter Seals' Valentine's Day logo

Easter Seals' Valentine's Day logo

My biggest dating advice to anyone with a disability is to love yourself first, respect yourself and be willing to share who you are and where you want to go. Don’t be afraid of rejection and keep the faith."

To celebrate Valentine’s Day, Easter Seals wanted to raise awareness around the dating, intimacy, marriage and friendship scene for people living—and loving—with disabilities or challenges, like long-distance romance. The non-profit’s new love and relationships series explores love in many forms, through stories of people who have lived and learned:

  •     Love and Marriage. Elizabeth Wampler shares how she stumbled into love with Steve, who is an adventurous sportsman with cerebral palsy (CP). He often navigates the world with a wheelchair or a mountain-climbing harness while Elizabeth takes on life with the kind of humor and honesty that makes others want to blush and best-friend her all at once.
  •     Dating and Finding “The One.” Chad Cunningham pushed the dating scene off because of reservations related to his disability, but as he matured and gained confidence in himself as a person, not a “person with a disability”, it all fell into place.

“My biggest dating advice to anyone with a disability is to love yourself first, respect yourself and be willing to share who you are and where you want to go,” said Cunningham. “Don’t be afraid of rejection and keep the faith. The right person is out there.”

Want to Date Someone with a Disability?
Bridget Houlihan, former Easter Seals youth representative and unofficial dating expert discusses what to do on the first date to ensure there’s a second:

  •     Don’t focus on the disability, but don’t ignore it either. Your date’s disability shouldn’t be your main focus, but you shouldn’t ignore it either.
  •     Ask. If you’re not sure how to best accommodate for someone’s disability, or if they need help, ask. Don’t worry about planning something accessible all by yourself — ask the person you’re going out with their thoughts. They’ll be glad you did. And when they tell you what they do or don’t need, take it to heart and honor what they say.
  •     Plan ahead. Here again, a little planning can go a long way. Call ahead to see if the date you’re planning is doable — ask about accessible seats, entrances, restrooms and the space between tables. It’s best not to assume that things will be accessible. And tell your date you looked into it. They may have some additional thoughts and will certainly be impressed by your thoughtfulness.

Visit for the rest of these dating tips and more. Also view stories on:

  •     Long Distance Romance. Military couples—how do they deal? The wife of an active duty Chief Petty Officer in the United States Navy said it’s the little things that count. Apart through boot camp, four deployments holidays and parenting milestones, she shares six secrets to keep love alive across the miles.
  •     Siblings. Siblings are the longest relationships of our lives. Easter Seals has gathered first-hand quotes from brothers and sisters who have grown up with siblings with disabilities.
  •     Friendship. Longtime friends Shayne and Kristen share their ups and downs—and why their friendship is so special.

This is just a sneak peek of the series; for more tips and heartwarming stories, visit

About Easter Seals

Easter Seals is the leading non-profit provider of services for individuals with autism, developmental disabilities, physical disabilities and other special needs. For nearly 100 years, we have been offering help and hope to children and adults living with disabilities, and to the families who love them. Through therapy, training, education and support services, Easter Seals creates life-changing solutions so that people with disabilities can live, learn, work and play.

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Rachel Talen
Easter Seals
+1 (312) 551-7246
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