(Credit: Evgeny Atamanenko/iStockphoto)

Wolf + Friends (iOS) founders Carissa Tozzi and Gena Mann noticed a need for community among moms raising special needs children. They created one with their app named after Tozzi's son, Wolf.

"We felt that moms raising special needs kids felt isolated," Tozzi told " We knew we were going to fill a need."

Through the app, moms can connect with other local, like-minded women raising kids with special needs like autism, ADHD, sensory processing issues, developmental delays, Down syndrome, and other mental health disorders.

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Tozzi told that the feedback she and Mann received most when interviewing moms was the emphasis to find a community. Regardless of best intentions, family and friends might not always understand what parents of special needs kids are going through.

Along with finding their "pack," moms on the app can personalize their news feed to see relevant articles, developmentally appropriate product suggestions, and helpful tips from professionals.

Setting up the Wolf + Friends app is quick. After downloading the free app, create an account. You can turn on location services to get better recommendations.

Wolf + Friends will ask what you hope to get out of using the app. You can pick from choices like events, kid-friendly recipes, be a mentor, find a mentor, make new friends, book recommendations, and more.

Next, the app asks to know a bit about your personality to better match you with other moms. You can pick up to five traits like Barely Keeping it Together, Bookworm, Free Spirit, Mama Warrior, and others.

The app will ask basic information about your children like their name, age, gender (optional), and what makes them special. You can select from a list of special needs.

After you add a profile picture, Wolf + Friends will generate a list of nearby moms.

The UI is similar to familiar social media sites like Facebook. You can access a news feed, search for local moms, start messages, get notifications, and edit your profile. Users can view developmentally appropriate items and shop for them in the app.

Tozzi told Download that she wanted the app to be more welcoming and friendly than other informative sites. She described some as too clinical and gloomy. She and Mann set out to style their app after bright websites like Pintrest and Instagram.

Wolf + Friends has an easy-to-use design and information that could be of value to more people than just parents. The information offered on the app could educate teachers, businesses, and relatives, creating a more compassionate view of individuals with special needs.

Tozzi said the response to Wolf + Friends has been "amazing."

"We were overwhelmed by the number of people who've downloaded it already," she said. The app is only available on iOS for now, but the team has plans for Android in the future.

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  1. The Wolf + Friends app helps moms raising special needs kids to connect with other local women. The app offers customized news, products, and messaging options.
  2. Creators Carissa Tozzi and Gena Mann said that moms raising special needs kids often feel isolated because relatives and friends often can't empathize.

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Shelby is an Associate Writer for CNET's She served as Editor in Chief for the Louisville Cardinal newspaper at the University of Louisville. She interned as Creative Non-Fiction Editor for Miracle Monocle literary magazine. Her work appears in Glass Mountain Magazine, Bookends Review, Soundings East, and on Her cat, Puck, is the best cat ever.