Our kids are Champions, but our moms and dads are heroes! This Mother’s Day month, we’d like to introduce you to one of our heroes: Michelle Huang Scott from San Francisco. As the mom of 6-year old Champion Hunter, she experienced first-hand that trying to find help for your child is not as easy as it seems. The challenges and difficulties Michelle faced could’ve easily made her a victim of her circumstances. Instead, she chose to rise. Not only to advocate and fight for her own family but fight for all families with special needs in the San Francisco area. We hope Michelle’s story inspires you.
Michelle’s son Hunter was born without a diagnosis. He was not able to receive the resources he needed until the age of 2 ½. Due to hypotonia, a low muscle tone disorder, Hunter was in much need of physical therapy. The complicated health care system and administrative logistics caused him to miss out on receiving one and a half years of early intervention services.
Since he was 2 ½ years old he has been receiving Speech Therapy, Occupational Therapy, and Physical Therapy once a week. It was a new journey for the Scott family, which came with unforeseen strains and the stress of constantly advocating for their child.Paying out-of-pocket fees for the services cost Michelle’s family more than $450 a week (not including accessories, special toys, assessments, etc). As you can imagine, this created a huge burden on them. Michelle quickly realized that this was not sustainable, not just for her family, but for ANY family.
Once Michelle started to understand that this was going to be a lifestyle, she began to empathize with all the mothers out there who had it worse than her. Imagining all the roadblocks a parent could face (transportation, language, and financial barriers), it became clear that accessibility and affordability come to those who are tenacious and have time to ensure a child receives the help it needs.
Questions flooded her head: “What if a parent has to choose between working and getting a child essential services or providing basic necessities like clothing and food over therapy?” Over the last two years, Michelle has set out to advocate for all kids with special needs and their families.
In 2015 Champions Club donated a Motor-Sensory Room to San Francisco City Impact’s inner-city school called SF City Academy (SFCA). It was the first year that SFCA, a K-8 elementary school, was able to focus on kids with cognitive learning disabilities. Although severely understaffed, SFCA strived to do its best to give their kids the extra support they needed to become successful academically. The room was utilized as a safe haven for the kids in need of extra support. After the first year, SFCA hired a full-time Interventionist to help children who were troubled, needed extra support, or had an IEP. After seeing the benefits and success of the Motor-Sensory Room, SF City Impact (SFCI) built out an entire department for their Champions: the Specialized Services Department (SSD). It has one director and 12 highly specialized volunteers to serve the kids at SFCA who have special needs.
Now Michelle is setting out to change the entire paradigm of how they reach the kids of the inner city together with her dad Roger Huang, the founder of SF City Impact. SF City Impact is excited to build out quality programs to provide accessible therapy resources and workshops to educate parents on how to raise a child with special needs. Michelle founded Threads For Therapy (TFT), a relevant advocacy clothing brand.
Michelle wanted to establish a street brand that anyone would be proud to wear and that kids with special needs are excited to be associated with. Threads For Therapy Clothing Brand subsidizes the therapy playgroups for children with special needs. SF City Impact has created a partnership with Threads For Therapy to support TFT play-based groups hosted by licensed therapists.
They will run playgroups for up to eight children an hour where they will assess the child’s intake form, consult with parents, and go over a child’s background information/IEP and work with the parents to address any concern they have. By doing this, the parents receive access to a therapist to help guide them in raising a child with special needs. The beautiful part about the TFT Clothing Brand is that it makes a direct impact by anyone anywhere who supports the line. The vision of Threads For Therapy is to partner with other organizations and companies that also want to have TFT play-based groups at their location to create that same accessibility and affordable throughout for everyone. And SF City Impact is eager to get started to get the kids the help they need.
To shop Threads For Therapy, please click here.