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Meet Michele Thorne of D.A.M.E.S. Differently Abled Mothers Empowerment Society in Tempe

Today we’d like to introduce you to Michele Thorne.

Michele, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
In 2016 my son Jackson was diagnosed with Autism. In 2018, so was my daughter. I fell into a deep depression. I found my way out when I found my tribe and started to take time to care for myself again. It has been documented that mothers who care for special needs children can suffer from PTSD and yet there was nothing… nothing out there that focused on the health and well being of mothers like me. So, I created D.A.M.E.S. to fill this void and give care back to the caregiver.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
No. Juggling two children with autism, therapies, schools and a start-up has not been easy. It has required sacrifice, time management implementation, and being able to problem solve quickly. It began and a strickly online platform but we quickly realized that we need to add an app to make D.A.M.E.S. more functional for our members. We are always learning and adjusting this company to ensure that we are meeting our true north: giving care back to the caregiver.

However, I must say that I have been truly blessed by my family who helped me raise the money to start D.A.M.E.S. and by the women who have helped provide content for the site. We focus on hiring others from within the community and because of that most of the people who have contributed to our success have done so because they understand the need for this company within our community.

Please tell us about your work.
D.A.M.E.S. aims to take a holistic approach to help mother’s who are raising special needs children. We do this through education, connection and by providing self-care tools. In our education section, we host a monthly webinar series. We do them live, record them, and then post them on the site so that the members can watch the webinars when they had time in their schedule to do so. In our connection section, we have an online forum, a private Facebook page and we also hold two zoom calls a month. In our self-care section, members have access to guided meditations, yoga/Pilates and fitness classes.

Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
Oh yes, so many people. I had the support and encouragement of my husband. I had family members who donated money to help me get DAMES off the ground. I joined a mentoring group called Starshine who helped review my business plan and business strategy. I had the support of other mothers who are raising special needs children.


  • Yearly membership: $25 for the year
  • scholarships and the ability to sponsor a DAME

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