Despite a proliferation of dating websites and apps like OKCupid and Tinder, one mother and daughter felt the world of online dating was missing something – a community for singles on the autism spectrum.
Olivia Cantu, 18, and her mother, Kristen Fitzpatrick, 37, started SpectrumSingles.com in January as a dating and social media website for individuals on the spectrum.
The duo, who hail from Santa Clarita, California, are both on the autism spectrum. They told BuzzFeed News that they were disappointed that online communities for autistic individuals were created and run by non-autistics.
We wanted to create a website that brought together people on the spectrum for dating and friendships, but also be able to differentiate people s spectrum traits, Cantu told the website.
The solution was Spectrum Singles.
The site uses an 184-question test, much like dating site eHarmony’s compatibility test, called the Spectrum Compatibility Test (SCT), to match users. Topics like social comfort, attention tendencies and sexual preferences are covered in the test, including multiple choice questions like “I find social situations easy” and “I am fascinated by numbers.” Users are then categorized by a color that ties to their place on the spectrum, and are then able to search for and communicate with users of the same color category.
Because we all are autistic on the site, we can easily share each other s experiences that we may have difficulty expressing to non-autistics,” Cantu said.
As of March 2014, the CDC cited that nearly one in every 68 kids is on the Autism Spectrum. April is National Autism Awareness month, celebrating the growing community of diagnosed autistic individuals in the United States.