Schoolsaathi Awareness Program-Empowering future Teachers for Inclusive Education

Schoolsaathi Awareness Program- Empowering future teachers for Inclusive Education, in association with Satyam College of Education Noida:

In today’s progressive society, it is our collective responsibility to ensure that every student, regardless of their unique needs, receives an education tailored to their requirements. Recognizing the importance of inclusive education, SpecialSaathi, in association with Satyam College of Education Noida, conducted the Schoolsaathi Awareness Program on their campus. This program focused on two significant topics: the development of an Individual Education Plan (IEP) and effectively dealing with students’ diversity in the classroom.

Gratitude and Acknowledgments:

SpecialSaathi expresses deep gratitude to the Principal, Industry placement head, coordinators, and authorities of Satyam College for providing this valuable opportunity. SpecialSaathi also extends heartfelt thanks to the esteemed guest speakers and resource persons, Dr. Sonali Kataria, Founder Head of Sunrise Learning Foundation, and Ms. Sonia Jaitley, Founder and Director of Orane Kids Noida. A special acknowledgment goes to Mr. Praval Yadav, Founder and Director of Margshree Inclusive Society, for creating this opportunity.

Embracing Diversity in the Classroom:

The Schoolsaathi Awareness Program aimed to equip future teachers, the BEd students, with the necessary expertise to address the needs of every student, irrespective of their differences. The primary goal was to empower educators to create an inclusive and supportive learning environment for all students. The program emphasized the belief that every child deserves an equal opportunity to learn and thrive.

Insights and Best Practices:

The awareness program, held on 24th May’23, provided BEd students with practical strategies, insights, and best practices to better support students with diverse needs. The expert speaker Ms. Sonia Jaitley guided participants through the process of designing and implementing Individual Education Plans (IEPs). This ensured that every student’s unique strengths and challenges were taken into account. By attending this workshop, BEd students gained a deeper understanding of different learning styles, cognitive differences, and the various strategies that can be employed to foster an inclusive learning environment.

Addressing Specific Challenges:

Participants explored the importance of collaboration, teamwork, and the role of parents and guardians in supporting the holistic development of each child. This discussion conducted by Dr.Sonali Kataria equipped future teachers with tools to identify and accommodate the needs of students with disabilities, learning disorders, and other challenges. By understanding and implementing these strategies, teachers can create an inclusive space where every student feels valued and supported.

Creating a Future of Inclusion:

By conducting the Schoolsaathi Awareness Program, SpecialSaathi, their resource persons and Satyam College aimed to make a profound difference in the lives of every student and contribute to a society that values and respects the individuality of each person. It is through the collective efforts of educators, institutions, and organizations that we can shape a future where no child is left behind.

Appreciation for Satyam College:

SpecialSaathi expresses sincere appreciation to Satyam College for hosting the series of awareness programs and extending their support to the cause of inclusive education. By collaborating with educational institutions like Satyam College, we can create a network of empowered educators who are committed to fostering inclusive learning environments.

Future Roadmap:

The Schoolsaathi Awareness Program conducted by SpecialSaathi in collaboration with Satyam College of Education Noida aimed to equip future teachers with the necessary knowledge and tools to embrace diversity in the classroom and create inclusive learning environments. By discussing the development of Individual Education Plans (IEPs) and addressing students’ diverse needs, the program emphasized the importance of providing equal opportunities to all students.

Together, we can work towards a future where every child’s unique potential is recognized, valued, and nurtured. Let us embark on this journey together, equipped with knowledge, compassion, and a deep commitment to inclusive education.

A few glimpses of the awareness program-

Author Shilpi Mayank Awasthi

Founder SpecialSaathi


Preparing Your Child for a Doctor’s Visit: Essential Do’s and Don’ts

Visiting the doctor can be a challenging experience for any child, and it can be particularly overwhelming for children on the autism spectrum. However, with proper preparation and support, parents can help their child navigate the doctor’s visit, waiting time there, and everything related to it smoothly.

Today, in this blog, I will discuss crucial do’s and don’ts for preparing your child for a doctor’s visit, ensuring a more positive and successful experience for everyone involved. I will also provide you with practical strategies and tips to prepare your child including familiarizing them with the doctor’s tools, electronic devices, and the room’s ambiance. So let’s get started.


1. Communicate, Explain and Prepare in advance: One of the essential steps in preparing your autistic child for a doctor’s visit is effective communication.

●Inform your child about the upcoming visit well in advance, using visual supports, social stories, or a visual schedule.

●Explain the purpose of the visit and what they can expect during the appointment.

●Familiarize them with the doctor’s office environment, if possible by showing YouTube videos and picture books. Start by explaining to your child why they need to visit the doctor and what to expect during the appointment.

●Use clear and concise language, visual aids such as social stories or picture schedules, and consider using visual timers to help them understand the duration of the visit.

2. Role Play: To help your child acclimatize to the doctor’s visit and be more at ease, consider and engage them in role-playing the experience at home.

●Pretend to be the doctor and demonstrate common procedures like checking temperature, listening to the heartbeat, or examining the eyes and ears in a play- way. If possible, use some familiar lines or dialogues from their favorite cartoon. This will help your child understand what to expect and reduce anxiety.

●Take turns playing the roles of the doctor, nurse, and patient. Use social stories or visual supports to depict the steps involved, allowing your child to become familiar with the process. To help your child become more comfortable with the doctor’s visit, engage in role-playing at home.

3. Create a Visual Schedule: Visual schedules can be immensely helpful for autistic children as they provide a structured and predictable sequence of events.

●Create a visual schedule specifically for the doctor’s visit, outlining each step from leaving the house to returning home.

●Include pictures or symbols representing the waiting room, doctor’s office, and various medical procedures.

●Refer to the schedule frequently to reinforce the routine and help your child understand the progress of the visit.

4. Sensory Preparation: Autistic children may have sensory sensitivities, so it is crucial to address any potential triggers before the visit. One can consider following points if they find strong aversions for public places in their child

●Visit the doctor’s office in advance to familiarize your child with the environment and its sensory aspects.

●Discuss with the staff any accommodations or modifications that can be made to create a more comfortable experience, such as dimming lights, reducing noise levels, or providing sensory toys or headphones.

5. Introduce Doctor’s Tools and Electronic Devices:Many autistic children can find medical instruments and electronic devices intimidating or overwhelming. Gradually introduce your child to these tools at home before the visit. For example, you can play pretend doctor using a stethoscope or show them pictures or videos of doctors using different medical tools. Encourage your child to explore and touch the instruments in a safe and controlled environment, helping to desensitize any potential fears or anxieties.

6. Choose the right doctor: Seek out healthcare professionals who have experience working with autistic individuals. They should be patient, understanding, and willing to make accommodations to meet your child’s needs. Consider asking for recommendations from other parents of autistic children or support groups.

7. Create a social story: Develop a personalized social story that explains the entire process of visiting the doctor. Use simple language and visual aids to illustrate each step. This will help your child anticipate and understand the sequence of events, reducing uncertainty.

8. Visual Supports for Waiting Time: Waiting can be challenging for any child, and it can be especially difficult for autistic children who may struggle with patience and uncertainty.

●Visual aids can be immensely beneficial for communication and comprehension. Create visual schedules or visual prompts to support your child during the visit. These can include pictures or icons representing different stages of the appointment or emotions they may feel.

●Use visual supports such as a timer or countdown app to help your child understand the waiting time.

●Bring along comfort items like their favorite toys, books, or headphones to provide a sense of security and distraction during the wait.

9. Prepare for Transitions: Transitioning from one activity to another can be particularly challenging for autistic children.

●Help your child prepare for the transitions during the doctor’s visit by using visual timers or countdowns.

●Give them advance warnings, such as “five more minutes until we finish” or “in two minutes, it’s time to move to the next room.” This will help your child anticipate and adjust to the changes, reducing anxiety and potential meltdowns.

10. Reinforce Positive Behavior: Throughout the visit, acknowledge and reinforce your child’s positive behavior and cooperation. Offer praise, rewards, or small incentives for their efforts, such as a favorite snack or a special activity they enjoy. Positive reinforcement will help create a positive association with the doctor’s visit and encourage your child


1. Don’t rush: Allow ample time for the visit, as rushing can increase stress levels for both you and your child. Plan ahead to avoid being in a hurry or feeling rushed during the appointment.

2. Avoid surprises: Be transparent about what will happen during the visit. Avoid surprising your child with unexpected procedures or tests without prior explanation, as this can lead to distress and meltdowns.

3. Don’t dismiss concerns: Respect and acknowledge any concerns or fears your child expresses about the doctor’s visit. Validate their feelings and provide reassurance. Ignoring or dismissing their worries may increase anxiety.

4. Avoid overwhelming waiting areas: Crowded or noisy waiting rooms can be overwhelming for autistic individuals. If possible, contact the doctor’s office in advance to discuss alternatives, such as scheduling appointments during less busy times or requesting a separate waiting area.

5. Don’t forget to communicate with the doctor: Inform the doctor about your child’s specific needs and challenges. Share any relevant information about their sensory sensitivities, communication preferences, or strategies that have worked well in the past. Collaborate with the doctor to ensure your child’s needs are met.

6. Don’t forget to debrief: After the visit, take the time to discuss the experience with your child. Acknowledge their efforts and reinforce positive aspects of the visit. Address any concerns they may have for future visits and offer reassurance based on their experience.

A brief story on Yuvaan’s latest Doctor’s visit

Two weeks back, I took my son Yuvaan to the doctor when he was suffering from diarrhea. Yuvaan is a well-prepared and socially adept child, comfortable in public places, including the doctor’s clinic. Thanks to the effort I put into preparing him for various social settings, including public places like a doctor’s clinic, he’s able to visit comfortably and cooperates during the check-up.

Regular visits to the doctor’s clinic, pretend- play and other mentioned tips above had familiarized him with the clinic environment. This proactive approach has always helped him feel at ease and made the visits less stressful for both of us.

On the day of the visit, Yuvaan was feeling totally unwell due to the symptoms of diarrhea. However, I had previously taken him a day before, to the doctor for diarrhea check-up.

As we entered the clinic, Yuvaan greeted the receptionist with a smile and responded politely when she asked for his name during checking his previous appointment details. It was heartening to see him behaving confidently in a medical setting.

While waiting for our turn, Yuvaan engaged himself in reading on the board nearby to keep him occupied, which helped distract him from any discomfort he might have been feeling. This is a self regulatory method he uses in every public place while waiting.

However, on this particular day, something unexpected happened, while playing at home in evening, Yuvaan hurt his knee, and as usual his immediate reaction is that he asks me to take him to the doctor and put some bandages on his “boo-boo” or to apply ointment or lotion or a band-aid.

Unbeknownst to me, Yuvaan associated that visit to the doctor with getting his knee examined and treated. As soon as we entered the doctor’s cabin, he confidently sat on the stool, greeted the doctor, and began explaining, “Doctor, look, I got hurt! I have a boo-boo. I stubbed my knee, and it’s all yellow, blue, and green now. Put some bandages. Fix my boo-boo.”
The doctor and nurse were taken aback by Yuvaan’s unexpected remarks, and they looked at him in shock. Had they responded, it would have been a delightful and engaging two-way conversation. However, I quickly clarified the situation to Yuvaan, informing him that the nurse would be the one to put the bandage on his knee. He promptly got up, went over to the nurse, and had a bandage applied to the injured area. Afterward, he returned to his seat, proudly declaring that he was feeling better. “Nurse fixed my boo-boo, I am feeling much better now” he confidently announced to me.

As I continued discussing Yuvaan’s diarrhea condition with the doctor, he couldn’t contain his excitement. On our way back to the main gate, he made sure to inform everyone we encountered in the corridor that he was feeling better and that he had received a bandage. His independent and articulate explanation of his injury and the subsequent resolution left me amazed. It was a remarkable accomplishment for a 5-year-old to handle such a situation independently with confidence and clarity.

Throughout the visit, Yuvaan demonstrated his ability to adapt to new environments and social settings. His cooperation and comfort in the doctor’s clinic made the experience smoother for both of us and helped the medical professionals provide the necessary care for his condition.

As a parent, it was gratifying to see the result of the efforts put into preparing Yuvaan for such situations. This incident reinforced the importance of familiarizing children with different environments, teaching them social skills, and building their confidence to navigate various situations comfortably.

Hope you enjoyed reading today’s blog. Do provide your valuable feedback and share it with others.

Thank you

Author Shilpi Mayank Awasthi

Founder SpecialSaathi


Best Therapist for your child is…..?

Best Therapist for your special needs child is you ! The Parents, particularly the “Mother”- A mother’s day special blog.

Empowering Parents as Therapists: Understanding and Supporting Special Needs Children

Raising a child with special needs can be both a rewarding and challenging journey for parents. While professional therapists and educators play a crucial role in their child’s development, parents especially mothers, can enhance their child’s progress by becoming actively involved as therapists at home. By understanding their child better and implementing appropriate strategies, parents can create a nurturing environment that supports their child’s unique needs.

Children with special needs require extra care and attention, and their parents more specifically their mothers, being the primary caregiver, often play the most important role in their development. They understand and know their child completely. However, many parents may feel overwhelmed and unsure of how to best support their child. While seeking therapy from a professional is recommended, parents can also become a powerful force in their child’s progress by becoming their child’s best therapist.

Understanding a special needs child’s specific needs, unique challenges, and potentials is critical for providing effective care and support. The more parents know about their child’s condition, the better equipped they will be to provide the right kind of help, including therapeutic interventions, educational support, and social-emotional development. Parents and mothers who are knowledgeable about their child’s needs can also communicate more effectively with healthcare providers, educators, and other professionals involved in their child’s care.

My today’s blog aims to provide parents with valuable insights and practical tips on how to function as a therapist for their special needs child.

Here are some ways parents and mothers can become the best therapists for their special needs child. Unraveling some tips!

1. Educate yourself about your child’s condition:

A.)Learn about your child’s condition
The first step towards becoming your child’s best therapist is to understand their condition, the challenges and the strengths. Research and read up on your child’s diagnosis, and learn about the common symptoms, behaviors, and best practiced techniques and therapies associated with it. The more you know, the better equipped you will be to help your child. Parents should take the time to learn as much as they can about their child’s specific needs, challenges, and potentials.

B.)They can read trusted articles and blogs available online, for example- the SpecialSaathi blogs. Read books, attend conferences, workshops, or the ParentSaathi webinars conducted often by SpecialSaathi and consult with the resource person the ParentSaathis, the experts in the field to gain a better understanding and insight of your child’s condition. By acquiring knowledge, you can better understand your child’s experiences and tailor your approach accordingly.

2. Observe and document your child’s behaviors:

A.) Developing a deep understanding of your child’s behaviors, triggers, and communication patterns is vital. Parents should pay close attention to their child’s behaviors, nonverbal cues, body language, and gestures and document them regularly in a diary or in an Excel. By observing their reactions to different situations, you can identify their preferences, dislikes, and potential sources of stress.

B.) Effective communication is also crucial—encourage open dialogue with your child’s therapists, teachers, and doctors to gain valuable insights into their progress and challenges. This information can help them track the child’s progress, identify patterns in behavior, and identify areas where their child may need additional support.

3. Set realistic goals:

Based on your understanding of your child’s condition, parents should set realistic goals for your child’s development. Parents can work in collaboration with therapists and educators to identify appropriate IEPs, proper goals and strategies for achieving them.

4. Implement therapy and educational interventions:

Parents can work with therapists and educators to implement therapeutic and educational interventions tailored to their child’s specific needs. They can also provide additional support and practice at home to reinforce what their child is learning in therapy and at school.

5. Create a structured routine:

A.)Children with special needs often thrive in a structured environment. Establishing a consistent routine for your child can provide them sense of security and stability and can help them feel secure and in control.
B.)Plan out a daily visual schedule that includes meals, therapy sessions, playtime, greeting, my favorite time, activities, household chores, clean up time and rest periods.
C.) Make sure to communicate the schedule with your child and stick to it as much as possible.
D.)Designate specific areas for different activities, such as play, study, and relaxation.
E.)Clear boundaries and consistent expectations help children understand what is expected of them, reducing anxiety and improving their overall well-being.

6. Use positive reinforcement:

Positive reinforcement is a powerful tool for encouraging desired behaviors in children. Praising your child when they demonstrate positive behavior can help them feel more confident and motivated. Find small things to celebrate, and make sure to be specific with your praise.

7. Utilize Play as Therapy:

Play is a powerful tool for children with special needs, as it fosters social, emotional, cognitive, and physical development. Children learn best through play. Engage in purposeful play with your child, incorporating activities that align with their therapy goals. Use visual aids, interactive toys, and sensory materials to make learning enjoyable and engaging. Incorporate therapeutic play into your daily routine, using toys and activities that are tailored to your child’s needs. Play is an excellent way to bond with your child, making a connection, for joint attention, learning new skills & vocabulary, developing communication, social, and motor skills, and to create positive interactions with your child. Encourage imaginative play, role-playing, and problem-solving to enhance their creativity and communication skills.

8. Incorporate Therapeutic Activities:

Supplementing formal therapy sessions with targeted activities at home can accelerate your child’s progress. Collaborate with your child’s therapists to develop an individualized plan and integrate therapeutic exercises into your daily routine. This may include fine motor skill development through arts and crafts, speech and language exercises, sensory integration activities, or physical exercises to enhance gross motor skills.

9. Foster Social Connections:

Social interaction plays a crucial role in a child’s overall development. Create opportunities for your child to engage with peers, family members, and friends. Arrange playdates, participate in community events, or enroll your child in social skills groups. Encourage shared interests, cooperative play, and positive peer interactions to enhance their socialization skills.

10. Foster a positive and supportive environment:

Parents can create a positive and supportive environment that encourages your child’s development and helps them overcome challenges. This can include providing positive reinforcement, setting clear boundaries, providing visual schedules and developing routines and structures that promote your child’s well-being.

11. Practice patience and understanding:

Caring for a child with special needs can be challenging and frustrating at times. It is essential to practice patience and understanding with your child. Recognize their skill level , potentials and strengths. Understand that progress may be slow, and setbacks are inevitable. Remember that your child is doing their best, and offer support and encouragement along the way. Stay focused on your goal, learn from the failures and create more and more successful moments.

12. Advocate for your child:

As a parent, you are your child’s best advocate. Take an active role in their therapy by communicating with therapists, doctors, and educators about your child’s progress and needs. If your child goes to school, be actively present in all the meetings and stay updated about your child’s progress. Rause concerns as and when needed. Stay informed about available resources and services that can help your child, and make sure to voice your concerns and needs.

13. Take care of yourself

Caring for a child with special needs can be emotionally and physically exhausting. It is essential to prioritize self-care and seek support when needed and to take care of yourself, so you can be the best caregiver possible. Practice patience, as progress may be gradual and setbacks can occur. Celebrate small achievements and focus on your child’s strengths. Engaging in activities that rejuvenate you, such as exercise, hobbies, or spending time with loved ones, will enable you to be a more effective therapist for your child. Make sure to take breaks when you need them, seek support from family and friends, hire additional help, assign duties, share responsibilities and prioritize self-care activities that help you recharge. Caring for a special needs child can be physically and emotionally demanding.

So, knowing about a special needs child’s specific needs, unique challenges, and potentials is critical for providing effective care and support. Parents can become the best therapists for their child. Becoming your child’s best therapist requires dedication, patience, and a willingness to learn. By incorporating above mentioned tips you can help your child achieve their full potential. Remember to take care of yourself along the way, and celebrate the small victories. With your love and support, your child can thrive and lead a fulfilling life.

Parents, particularly mothers, can have a profound impact on their child’s development as they take on the role of a therapist at home. By understanding their child’s unique needs, implementing therapeutic strategies, and creating a nurturing environment, parents can support their child’s growth and well-being. Remember, it’s a journey!

Hope you all enjoyed reading the blog! Do leave your valuable feedback and share it with other parents. Thank you for reading !!

Author Shilpi Mayank Awasthi

Founder SpecialSaathi


The Revolutionary Merry Barua

Changemakersaathi माँ, a Mother’s day special story

Merry Barua is a pioneering revolutionary in the autism space in India. She is a remarkable woman, a mother who has dedicated her life to improving the lives of people with autism in India. Her journey began when she discovered that her son has autism, and she quickly realized that there were very few resources available to help him and others like him. Determined to make a difference, Merry became a pioneer for the autism community in India.

Merry was born in 1952 in the Indian city of Allahabad. She had always been an active student who stood up against injustice, she completed her formal education in Calcutta. And after marrying, she gave birth in 1980 to a son, Neeraj, who exhibited behaviour that was odd and unusual. This experience led her to become deeply interested in the field of autism and to devote her life to helping families with autistic children.

Merry Barua was a typical working mother determined to make a difference, and became a changemaker and pioneer for the autism community in India. At that time in early 80s, there was very little awareness about the condition in India, and very few resources available to help families like hers. As a mother, Merry was resolute to find a way to help her son and others like him.

Merry started by educating herself about autism and its impact on families. She discovered that there was a lack of understanding about autism in India, a lack of proper diagnosis and support, and a lack of awareness about the condition among the general public.

Soon, in 1991, Merry founded the Action for Autism organization in New Delhi, India. The organization’s mission was to improve the lives of people with autism and their families through advocacy, awareness, and education. Merry and her team started by providing training to parents, teachers, and health care professionals about autism, its symptoms, and how to support children with autism.

Merry began by providing parent-child training and support to parents and caregivers of autistic children. She also worked to raise awareness of autism in India, organizing conferences and seminars and speaking to the media about the condition. She worked tirelessly to educate the public about the condition and to break down the stigma that surrounded it. She organized events, seminars, distributed awareness pamphlets and did workshops to promote understanding and empathy for people with autism.

Merry even launched India’s first newsletter on autism, which became a valuable resource for families and professionals alike. Most importantly, right from the start, she successfully advocated for legal recognition of autism as a disability, distinct from intellectual impairment

Over the years, AFA has grown into a leading organization in the field of autism in India. The organization provides a range of services, including diagnostic assessments, early intervention, therapies, vocational training, employment placement, assisted living and advocacy and in particular supporting self-advocates.

Merry Barua’s work has had a profound impact on the lives of autistic people and their families in India. She has helped to increase awareness of autism and to improve the quality of life for autistic people in India.

One of the most significant achievements of Merry Barua and AFA has been the creation of India’s first autism-friendly school. In 2003, AFA founded the Centre for Autism, a school that provides education and support for autistic children. The school is designed to meet the specific needs of autistic children, with a focus on individualized education and sensory integration.

Through Merry’s efforts, the autism community in India began to grow. Parents of children with autism found a support network, and professionals began to take notice of the condition. The Indian government also started to recognize the need for better support for people with autism and their families.

Merry’s work did not go unnoticed. She was awarded the Ashoka Fellowship in 2000, which recognized her as a leading social entrepreneur in the field of autism. She was also appointed to the National Trust, a government body that supports people with disabilities and their families.

Merry Barua has received numerous awards, accolades and recognition for her work and in recognition of her contributions to the field of autism.

Merry Barua’s story is one of passion, dedication, and perseverance. She has worked tirelessly to improve the lives of autistic people and their families in India, and her efforts have had a lasting impact on the autism community in India and beyond. Her work serves as an inspiration to others who are seeking to make a difference in the lives of those around them.

Today, Merry’s organization, Action for Autism, continues to make a difference in the lives of people with autism in India. The organization provides diagnostic services, therapy, and education to families and professionals across the country. Thanks to Merry’s hard work and dedication, people with autism in India have a brighter future.

Merry Barua’s journey as a mother to an autistic son and the pioneer of the autism community in India is an inspiring example of what one person can achieve when they are committed to making a difference. Merry’s dedication, hard work, and passion for helping others have transformed the lives of countless families in India, and her legacy will continue to inspire and guide others for years to come.

SpecialSaathi is highly honoured and privileged to recognize Merry’s tireless efforts and feature her as a Changemakersaathi माँ for the Mother’s day special story on our website.

Let’s hear Merry’s story in her own words in an exclusive interview with Shilpi Mayank Awasthi Founder of

Part 1
Part 2

Author Shilpi Mayank Awasthi Founder SpecialSaathi

Artwork by CreativeSaathi associate Morpheus Nag

Happy Mother’s Day !

Happy Mother's day!