Specialbridge Addressing Needs Disabled People

Online Dating

Private, Fun, Supportive — Special Bridge is the Leading Dating Site & Online Community for Disabled People

Hayley Matthews

Written by: Hayley Matthews

Hayley Matthews

Hayley has over 10 years of experience overseeing content strategy, social media engagement, and article opportunities. She has also written hundreds of informational and entertaining blog posts. Her work has appeared in numerous publications, including Bustle, Cosmo, the Huffington Post, AskMen, and Entrepreneur. When she's not writing about dating news, relationship advice, or her fantasy love affair with Leonardo DiCaprio, she enjoys listening to The Beatles, watching Harry Potter reruns, and drinking IPAs.

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Edited by: Lillian Castro

Lillian Castro

Lillian Guevara-Castro brings more than 30 years of journalism experience to ensure DatingAdvice articles have been edited for overall clarity, accuracy, and reader engagement. She has worked at The Atlanta Journal and Constitution, The Gwinnett Daily News, and The Gainesville Sun covering lifestyle topics.

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The Short Version: Not only is Special Bridge the premier dating site for people with disabilities — but it’s also a popular social network that gives them a secure and welcoming place to meet new people without feeling self-conscious about their ability levels. With its precise matching tools, private communication features, and member screening process, Special Bridge is “bridging the gap for love, friendship, and support.”

For singles with mental and/or physical disabilities, sometimes it’s hard to find a dating site that can meet all of their specific needs — not to mention one that can match them with like-minded and, most importantly, open-minded people.

Photo of the Special Bridge logo

Special Bridge is the #1 dating site and social network just for disabled people.

For example, if there isn’t a clear section for saying that they have a disability, it can be nerve-wracking to figure out the best time to tell their matches. And if their disability prevents them from being able to type, effectively communicating becomes another hurdle.

Lauren Robbins, whose sister, Jaclyn, has epilepsy and learning disabilities, understands how difficult it can be for disabled singles to meet new people who will accept them for who they are — which is why she and her husband, Michael, created Special Bridge.

A private dating site and social community for disabled people of all ability levels, Special Bridge addresses their emotional, social, and physical needs — and helps them find their perfect match, whether it’s for friendship or a romantic relationship.

Special Bridge is a supportive, safe, and fun place for people with disabilities to get to know others like them without fear of bullying or rejection. Michael shared with us how they’ve kept that environment intact from the very beginning with their accommodating features and caring members.

Lauren & Michael’s Personal Experiences With Disabled People Inspired Special Bridge

As mentioned above, Lauren’s sister inspired the creation of Special Bridge. Due to her learning disabilities and epilepsy, Jaclyn often had trouble meeting people to date and even making friends who would look past her perceived handicaps.

Photo of Jaclyn Key, the inspiration for Special Bridge

Lauren Robbins’ sister, Jaclyn Key, is the motivation behind Special Bridge.

Curious if there was a dating site out there that could cater to Jaclyn and singles like her, Michael and Lauren did some digging online. But their research came up short. With Michael being an experienced web developer, they took matters into their own hands — asking Jaclyn for her feedback and attending events for disabled people to get to know their audience.

“I started going to those and getting to know the community a little more and seeing what the needs were and what they want from a website like this. I started creating the site around them,” Michael said.

Six months later, they launched Special Bridge and began receiving extremely positive feedback from the get-go. They also quickly saw that members weren’t just using it for dating — they were also using it to make friends.

Michael and Lauren readjusted their direction a little bit to make Special Bridge a community for all disabled people. So not only can they turn to Special Bridge for enriching their romantic lives — but they can also turn to the site for enhancing their social, personal, emotional, and mental lives.

And Special Bridge has been growing ever since.

Numerous Helpful Features Make It Easy to Find & Communicate With Like-Minded Matches

Besides having a simple and intuitive layout and a quick sign-up process, Special Bridge also offers numerous features and tools that make the entire experience easy, fun, and successful for everyone, including:

  • Match Score: Members can find people they have things in common with right away with Special Bridge’s Match Score, which shows the compatibility they have with every member based on disabilities, location, and interests.
  • Real People — No Fake Profiles: Special Bridge screens every person who signs up, so members can feel confident that the person they’re talking to on the other end is real.
  • Private Messaging and Chat: Members don’t have to give out their personal contact info because they can safely communicate with others via Special Bridge’s message and chat system — which includes audio and video.
  • Background Checks: The team regularly monitors the site for inappropriate behavior and will perform background checks on members who are abusing others.
  • Support Forums: Just for members, Special Bridge’s forums are full of understanding people who love discussing a variety of topics.
  • No Ads: Members can do their thing without being interrupted by distracting pop-ups, banners, or the like.
  • Around-the-Clock Availability: Special Bridge is there for its members 24/7 — no matter what the issue is.

The folks at Special Bridge take pride in the fact that they listen to their members and what they want to see on the site on a regular basis — and make those changes as soon as possible.

“We are constantly making the website more honed toward this community. It’s a very fragile community, so it’s great to build something around them,” Michael said. “How the site is right now — it could change within six months and include more things that make it better and better.”

Screenshot of Special Bridge profile

Special Bridge strives for a clean interface that’s easy for members to use.

While Michael works on the technical aspect, Lauren does all of the customer service, with her most important role being to welcome members and even their parents to the site.

“For a lot of our members, their parents reach out to us first, wanting to know about the safety and what other people are like on the site,” Michael said. “They tell us their child’s story and what their disability is, and they want to make sure there are other people on the site like them who won’t judge and who will take the disability out of the equation.”

A Caring & Relatable Community Means Members Don’t Have to Feel Self-Conscious About Their Abilities

In their years of experience, Michael and Lauren have seen that men and women with disabilities often feel intimidated when introducing themselves to new people. But Special Bridge takes away that concern with its compassionate and concentrated member base.

Here, everyone is on the same level, so they can forget about feeling self-conscious and concentrate on being themselves.

Screenshot of Special Bridge's homepage

Special Bridge welcomes disabled people of all ability levels.

While members are surrounded by hundreds of people (ranging in ages from 18 to 65+) who all have mental and/or physical disabilities and have had similar experiences, they’re also exposed to diverse people with diverse personalities and interests.

Special Bridge is a place to rejoice in the similarities of like-minded and sometimes like-bodied people — and learn new things and grow as a person. It’s easy for members to make and maintain connections, ones they might not have ever made.

Final Thoughts

From its one-of-a-kind features to its supportive and open-minded nature, Special Bridge is catering to the needs of disabled singles like few other dating sites are. They’re having a major impact on the industry and making people think about what it really means to have a disability.

And looking toward the future, their focus will continue to be what it was from the start — to make their members feel safe, comfortable, and understood.

“I think the one thing that separates us from most of our direct competitors in the special needs niche is that we want to be the safest place possible for people, and we don’t want them to feel like they’re ever being taken advantage of,” Michael said.

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