From Isolation to Inspiration: How a Mom Built a Company for Children with Disabilities

Hello everyone! I’m Daniela, an intern at Colorful Kids Models with a passion for inclusion and innovation. Diagnosed with diabetes at a young age, I’ve always understood the importance of celebrating diversity and creating opportunities for everyone to shine. Colorful Kids Models’ mission deeply resonated with me, and when the chance to write this blog arose, it felt like a chance to contribute to something truly special. This blog is a glimpse into their world, and I hope as you read it, you’ll feel the same spark of inspiration that filled me while writing it.


In my first interview, I had the honor of sitting down with Miki Uchiki, the visionary founder of Colorful Kids Models. We discussed her inspiring journey, which began with her son’s diagnosis. Miki’s story is both touching and transformative, offering a compelling glimpse into the heart and soul behind Colorful Kids Models. Dive into this captivating interview.


Can you share what inspired you to start this company?

The initial inspiration came from my son, who has autism and severe intellectual disability. Until he was almost two, I never doubted he had a disability, but the official diagnosis came when he was nearly three. From then on, I felt extremely lonely and isolated. My son attended a kindergarten where he was the only child with a disability. Although the other parents were kind and welcoming, I couldn’t share my deep worries about my son’s future with them or even with my husband, who took the diagnosis in stride. He saw our son simply as his child, without any negative connotations attached to his disability.

When my son started school at a special needs institution at age six, I finally found a sense of community among other parents raising children with disabilities. It was a relief, and I began to accept my son’s condition. Around 2020, I noticed through YouTube and Instagram that other mothers of disabled children faced similar struggles, especially in Japan, where support systems are less developed than in countries like the United States or Australia.

I wanted to help younger parents with small children who might be experiencing the same challenges I did. I realized there was a lack of connection between society and people with disabilities in Japan. Schools and workplaces are segregated, and in daily life, we rarely see or interact with people with disabilities. I wanted to create a positive opportunity for these connections. That’s when I learned about models with disabilities from friends in Canada, Australia, the Netherlands, and the UK. Since Japan lacked representation in this area, I decided to start this business..

That’s wonderful. So you’re creating a community for parents and supporting the children too. You mentioned that sometimes you avoid going out because people stare at your son. How does that make you feel?

It brings feelings of sadness and fear. No one chooses to be born with a disability, and no one wishes for their child to have one. But despite the challenges, I love my son deeply and am grateful for the lessons he has taught me. He has broadened my perspective and made me a better person. However, the stares from others make us feel like strangers, which is hurtful. I don’t want my son or any other child to feel ashamed of their disability. It’s a complex mix of emotions.

So with your company, you want to help people with disabilities feel safer and more accepted in society. You’ve been running this business for almost three years now. What aspects of your work bring you the most fulfillment?

It’s difficult to pick just one. We’re a small company, and only a few companies have hired our models so far. But each time we work with them, I am reminded that Japan is a much warmer society than I had feared. Seeing the smiles of our models’ parents is incredibly rewarding. During photo shoots, everyone is understanding and there’s no pressure to perform. It’s a peaceful environment where the models can be themselves. Watching parents, who are often used to apologizing for their children’s behavior, relax and smile is profoundly moving.

Can you describe your vision for a future where people with disabilities are fully embraced?

About 20 years ago, Japan had fewer foreign residents, and seeing someone from another country was surprising. Now, it’s normal, and we welcome them. I want people with disabilities to be just as integrated into society. Although about one in twelve Japanese people has some form of disability, they are still seen as rare. If people with disabilities could go out with dignity and without worry, they would become a more visible part of society. Eventually, encountering people with disabilities would be as unremarkable as seeing left-handed individuals or those with a specific blood type. That’s the world I want to help create.

That sounds amazing. Thank you so much for sharing your story.


After my conversation with Miki, I was deeply inspired by her unique perspective and the genuine purpose driving every decision and action she takes. This powerful inspiration fueled the creation of the short essay you can read below.


Parenthood is like a mosaic of emotions. Mosaic filled with joy, love, hope, anticipation and sporadically worry. Each tile of mosaic represents a different moment of this journey. But what if the new tile has an unexpected color changing how the whole mosaic looks? Hearing the diagnosis of your kid can feel exactly like this.

When Miki found out that her son had autism and intellectual disability, the mosaic that she was building felt like it was shattered. She felt scared and lonely, afraid of the future and having no one to relate to what she was going through. Raising a child with all the outsiders watching her, apologizing for his differences to distant eyes with no understanding. The heaviness of these feelings started collapsing at her until she met someone going through the same cycle of emotions while navigating this unknown journey. Knowing that she is not alone in this made it all easier to carry. She had someone with who she could share her struggles and thoughts and she realized that she was looking at the disability only from one standpoint, as many people do. We typically perceive disability in a negative light, as a disadvantage or weakness but it is far from what disability is. Although being a parent of a disabled child is challenging Miki started to embrace the uniqueness of her son and her eyes opened to the divergent world that having disability brings. Thanks to her son she changed her thinking, she grasped on new perception of the world and became a better person. The influence of knowing someone with a disability is powerful, leading to reconsideration of things you never questioned before, as happened to Miki when her son was diagnosed.

One of these things was grappling with the enduring social stigmas still prevalent throughout Japan. Despite being an advanced country, living in Japan remains challenging for minorities and individuals with disabilities are no exception. Culture plays a significant role in why these social stigmas are common among Japanese. The essence of Japanese culture is rooted in preserving harmony and being considerate of others even if it inconveniences you. The collective cultural mindset may be beneficial for the akin majority but to deviate from the norm is even more challenging in this type of society. People with intellectual disabilities experience reduced cognitive and adaptive functioning, affecting intelligence, learning and everyday life skills such as communication and social participation. These limitations create a significant barrier to conforming to Japanese societal norms often resulting in catching the attention of others and intensifying the pressure on parents of disabled kids.

Disability presents many challenges but it also has the power to enrich life. Miki felt compelled to showcase the beauty inherent in disability while simultaneously confronting the challenges. All the things she had been taught by her son, she wanted to pass on, she wanted to make the parenthood of disabled kids less overwhelming, and most importantly thing she wanted to create a world where her son and others could shine and thrive by showing their true colors. She realized that if no one else was going to do it, she would have to be the one to make it happen. This is when the concept of ‘Colorful Kid Models’ emerged. Not your usual modelling agency but a company that is embracing uniqueness, offering a safe place for parents and kids and is slowly changing the society we live in. The company that intentions are pure as the hearts of the families that are part of it.


I hope you enjoyed reading our first blog post! This is just the beginning! Get ready to be uplifted, challenged, and surprised as we explore the world of Colorful Kids Models together. In the next blog posts, we’ll uncover the beauty and challenges of raising our exceptional models. Join us on this journey – one step, one story at a time.

Check Daniela’s other articles:

Be a disability friendly company and
get 1 billion fans of people living with disabilities

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us.