Families with individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) have to undergo various challenges, of which a substantive percentage is because of lack of social acceptance, understanding, and opportunities. Families face financial, emotional, mental, and social hardships, often resulting in estranged relationships with extended family and friends, isolation from neighbors and friend circles in routine recreational and leisure activities, and a limited, sometimes nonexistent support system. This situation is much more pronounced for individuals who are autistic—they are often misunderstood and their inability to conform to standards of social communication leads to chronic loneliness, isolation, and bullying.
To solve these challenges, I am creating Blossom. Blossom is an app that enables online and offline interactions of autistic individuals and families in their local communities. The app helps create a social community for parents of autistic children and autistic adults to connect with families on a similar journey in their neighborhoods by enabling localized interactions and providing a resource pool of recommendations and ratings of local providers. The app does that by allowing parents and autistic individuals to connect with and meet other families based on their location, age, interests, neurodiversity, and, most importantly, their autistic sensitivities. The long-term goal of the app is to enable an interdependent society of autistic adults and their families in local pockets to foster deeper relationships and remove the isolation and loneliness faced by them.