Parents create special needs dating, friendship website

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Most parents just want what's best for their kids, to see them happy.

Which is why one set of Michigan parents took that desire to a whole new level by creating a friendship and dating site for people with special needs.

The webstite, is the brainchild of Shannon and Steve Harwood.

Their daughter, Amanda, suffered a traumatic brain injury when she was just two-years-old.

Now, at 23-years-old, they say she needs help meeting new people.

"It was a real struggle for her to talk to people to find friends to find boyfriends and that stuff that," said Amanda's mom, Shannon.

Shannon says she's seen first-hand how much harder it is for people with special needs to form friendships and relationships.

"You know we see my daughter she just struggles every day she's lonely," said Shannon. "You try to give them as much attention and do as much as you can with them but they see other people in the community that have that."

Which is why almost a year ago the idea of My Special Match was born.

"It's been a very heartfelt project for the last year," said Victoria Kautz, family friend and marketing director of the site.

In just 12 days the site is expected to launch as an avenue for people with special needs to form those types of relationships.

"Social relationships are certainly a vital part of every adult relationship including those with special needs," said Aaron Mills with Special Olympics Michigan.

"It's trying to find people on their level that they can communicate socially on the level that they're at," said Shannon.

"The biggest hurdle in developing new friendships for anyone including those with special needs is really just having the opportunity to meet new people," said Mills.

As for safety concerns, Kautz says there will be a blocking and reporting feature.

"Just making sure that everyone on there is a true 100 percent special needs person looking to find friendship or dating," said Shannon.

As with any dating site there are suggested tips and guidelines to follow when meeting new people.

My Perfect Match is no different, they have a safety tip training that must be completed before creating a profile.

The site is expected to launch on October 1 and while there's no fee to create a profile, there will be one to communicate with other users, that amount hasn't been decided yet.

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