Mother and Daughter Launch Dating Site for People With Autism

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Olivia Cantu decided to make a difference for adults dealing with autism after getting tired of being misunderstood by her "non-autistic friends."

The 18-year-old and her mom – who is also on the autism spectrum – started Spectrum Singles, a dating site for people with autism. "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," Olivia told Buzzfeed News.

To do that, they created the Spectrum Compatibility Test (SCT), which matches people with similar "spectrum attributes." Since everyone on the autism spectrum has different tendencies and preferences, there are 184 questions on it ranging from social comfort to sexual preferences and attention tendencies to match people together.

Those who take the test are given a color that represents where they fall in the spectrum, and a link to check out other members of the same color.

Before starting the site at the beginning of this year, Olivia had seen online communities for people with autism that split up those with Asperger's and autism, but said they didn't feel "inviting to everyone."

Now that she and her mom – Kirsten Fitzpatrick – have launched their own site, her mom handles the marketing and Olivia focuses on the media and technology. "On non-autistic dating sites people on the spectrum face fear and stigma," Olivia told the site. "They often ask themselves, "Do I tell them I'm autistic from the beginning? Will they still like me after they find out?"

"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."

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