Select Region
Let's Get Social!
🍁 Download the Fall Family Fun Guide Today! 🍁

Web App Helps Kids with Special Needs Connect and Make Friends

Web App Helps Kids with Special Needs Connect and Make Friends

Making Authentic Friendships™ has about 300 users in 26 states and five continents.


Making Authentic Friendships is a new web app that helps kids and adults with special needs connect with people who share similar interests and abilities. The app launched in August and so far has almost 300 active users in 26 states and on five continents. 

Your child must be 13 or older to make an account on the app. She can use the app herself, or you can use it and connect with people on her behalf (which will be displayed to other users). When making an account, your child will be prompted to provide her age, gender, diagnosis (there are 14 options, and an "other" section where you can write a description that best fits your child), and her interests. Once the account is made, he will see a map of every other user in his area and around the world, allowing him to chat with anyone. Conversation prompts will relate to both users' mutual interests, stimulating conversation and interaction.

Juliana Fetherman, founder of the app, was the president of the autism awareness club at Sacred Heart University, where she earned her Bachelor’s and Masters degrees, and knew she wanted to focus on helping individuals with special needs through her career. Her brother, Michael, has autism and ADHD.

I loved being the president of the club–it was a lot of work, but it didn’t feel like work,” Fetherman said. “I thought, I could definitely do this with my life–if I could just figure out what’s missing in my brother’s life.”

Fetherman explained that Michael has a difficult time connecting with friends who share his interests. Fetherman realized there might be many individuals on Long Island and across the country who might be feeling the same way, with no medium to connect on, and the idea for Making Authentic Friendships was born. Fetherman worked on the app for three years before launch.

Making Authentic Friendships is moderated for safety, so any inappropriate messages will  automatically be flagged and blocked. For more information on how Making Authentic Friendships can help your child connect with others, visit the app’s website.

Main image: Founder Juliana Fetherman’s and her brother Michael.

More News Articles:

Kids Can Provide Relief to Long Island Hospitals Through Operation Get Well

Paula Rosenthal launched Operation Get Well this week to provide get-well-soon cards to patients at local Long Island hospitals who can’t receive visi...


Latest News:

11 Ideas to Celebrate Dad on Father's Day This Year

Here are some gift ideas, activities, dinner ideas, and more for celebrating Father's Day this year, plus Father's Day activities for families in NYC,...


Family Activities:

Glenview Historic Home Tour

Hudson River Museum Nov. 04, 2021 - Oct. 31, 2021

Experience what life was like in 1877 on a 45-minute tour of the six fully restored period rooms, including Yonkers' favorite dollhouse, Nybelwyck Hall. Recommended for ages 8 and older. 



Have a Laugh:

Best Memes of the Week for Parents

Here are the funniest parenting memes from Instagram, Facebook, and Reddit this week.
Jacqueline Neber

Author: Jacqueline Neber is a social journalism MA candidate at the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at CUNY. When she’s not reporting, you can find her petting someone else’s dog. See More

Featured Listings:

Variety Child Learning Center

Variety Child Learning Center

Syosset, NY Variety Child Learning Center provides services to more than 750 children and families annually. Services include evaluations to determine eligibility...

Winston Preparatory School

Winston Preparatory School

Winston Preparatory School is a highly individualized and responsive setting for students in grades 3 through 12 with learning differences such as dys...

The Vincent Smith School

The Vincent Smith School

Port Washington, NY Since 1924, Vincent Smith School has been LI’s premier school for differentiated instruction in grades first-12th for students with learning difficult...

Otto Specht School

Otto Specht School

Chestnut Ridge , NY At the Otto Specht School, we work to discover each child's path to lifelong learning, offering a variety of educational programs designed to meet the...