Founder's Voice

Jesscia HuiI remember the first time I gave my daughter a cookie that broke in half. She told me she didn't want a broken cookie and, being too tired to argue, I offered her another cookie, this one perfectly shaped. But my daughter didn't want another cookie – she wanted the original one, except she wanted mum to fix it and put it back together again. Frustration on both sides set in.

Any family that has a child with special needs has experienced a situation like the above. For awhile, I didn't realize that my then three-year old child had speech delay and sensory issues. It was only after seeking out a medical professional that I finally understood my daughter and, to be honest, it was a relief to finally have this knowledge.

Once you are aware of the issue, the entire family can work to resolve it. I'm so proud to say that after five years of speech and occupational therapy, she is now back on track and no longer needs these therapies. I would like to encourage parents to just keep at it – a positive mindset and the right therapies can make the difference between night and day.

I set up the Sunshine Children Foundation because so many families don't realize that their child isn’t misbehaving or acting out, but that they just learn differently. And while some families are fortunate to have the financial resources to help their child thrive in their own special way, other families do not and yet these children – and families – deserve to have just as much care and attention.

I chose the name "Sunshine" because I want to let families know that having a child with learning needs is not something to be upset about, but to let them know there's a ray of light and plenty of sunshine. Children, with or without learning needs, deserve happy and fun memories and parents need to make that happen. I hope that the word "sunshine" reminds parents that they are the driving force and their acceptance, along with their positive and happy attitudes, is so vital. And, honestly? Who cares if your child isn't good at everything? Let's buck that attitude and encourage our children to get creative, to get dirty, to laugh, play and have fun!

Jesscia Hui and her childrenFast-forward a couple of years and again the cookie I gave my daughter broke in half (maybe we should only buy soft cookies!). I knew she would want everything perfect and for her cookie to be whole again. I knew it was useless trying to give her another cookie so instead I wrapped a napkin around the broken cookie and said: "We've fixed him with a Band-Aid!" And my daughter happily ate her cookie.

Jessica Hui