We live in a digital world where the use of apps to make friends or find a significant other has become the norm. People all around the world utilize apps such as Tinder, Bumble, and Hinge to find people that they are compatible with. However, these apps aren’t always very inclusive.

The new mobile app, Hiki, allows those with autism to connect and talk to others who also have autism, free of judgement. Given many adults with autism often find that building and maintaining relationships (both platonic and romantic) difficult, this app offers a new opportunity for adults with autism to meet people in the community.

Founder Jamil Karriem created Hiki, which means “able” in Hawaiian, to help his cousin who has autism. After countless discussions about being lonely and lacking serious relationships, Karriem wrote on Medium,

“it wasn’t until a few weeks later that it dawned on me that while we both felt scared of the unknown—and we both yearned for meaningful connection—I had a myriad of platforms (both digital and physical) at my disposal where I could put myself out there. Moreso, I had the privilege of being able to go to loud bars with flashing lights any night of the week. He didn’t.”

There has been a lack of apps for those who have difficulty with social interactions, which sparked Karriem to make this app for those with autism.

Jamil Karriem, founder of Hiki. Source: PRNewswire

Karriem’s team of five is comprised of two people with autism and three educators for those with disabilities. Their different perspectives enables the app to run smoothly. To avoid sensory overload, Karriem tells Newsweek,“The colors are known to not be triggering for sensory purposes, the layout is simplified and very intuitive, there are no flashing lights or sudden changes. And the on-boarding flow is structured in such a way to let you know what is coming up next, to manage expectations and not surprise anyone.”

A Hiki profile. Source: Newsweek

Karriem tells PRNewswire, “I created Hiki because I believe that friendship, love, and community are the essence of happiness, and that everyone deserves access to platforms that can help build meaningful relationships.” This app is a small step that can make a huge difference in the lives of many people with autism by allowing them to communicate and form relationships with others that are in their community while embodying their true selves.

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