Dancing with my Nephew

Movement Activities for Children

I have been reminiscing and enjoying Raffi songs with my nephew, Ishaan in London. I vividly recall my cousin learning those songs when he was young.

So when my teacher, Sri Ujwal Jagadeesh suggested taping some Ramana rhymes for parents to do with children, I was interested because I could do it with my nephew. Since my nephew was expected to visit us soon, I was motivated to learn this song. Even when my nephew was only a few months old, he would sit on my mother’s lap and watch my dance class for more than half an hour. So I thought he might enjoy the movement activities.

February 7, 2023

Today, I was dancing with my 1 1/2 year old nephew. We did many dances. I am sharing some of the videos so parents can try with their children.

Thanks to Nikhil Thotam for the detailed body parts picture. Parents can also use this picture in their lessons.

If you are doing the body parts song with an older child, you can also draw and color a body parts picture. Since my nephew is only one and a half years old, we did the songs in a certain way.

Overall, he enjoyed doing the songs with my mother and me daily. He started interacting with me quickly and he would come up to me and raise his hands because he wanted me to carry him. So, I plan to learn some more songs from Ujwal anna ((anna means elder brother in Tamil. In RASA, we refer to teachers as anna and akka)). Then, I will have more activities to do with Ishaan when I visit him in London.

Pada Beda

First, we did the pada beda or the movements of the feet. My mom carries the baby while I do the movements. My mom does some of the movements. Ishaan enjoyed the pada beda. He kept looking at my feet when I did the different movements.

View the Pada Beda video below:

Animal Song

My role was to sing the song and to dance. My mother carried Ishaan and did some of the steps. Ishaan watched me with great interest especially when I sang the song. If I only danced, he would look at me for some time, and would look at the computer some time.

See the animal song video below:

Body Parts Song

In this song also, my role was to sing and dance. My mom roamed around with Ishaan behind me for La, La, La La La. We noticed that Ishaan would touch his eyes and nose sometimes when we did this song.

See the video below:

Fruit Song

I had not practiced this song with Ujwal anna. But we still played the song and did some actions.

Theater Arts4LIFE

Family interactions is one of the four LIFE pillars (L: Learning daily, I: Interests, F: Family interactions, E: Engagement with community).

Movement facilitated daily learning (L). I always start my day with a walk and dance. For the last two weeks, my dance routine was different and I was dancing with Ishaan rather than my usual routine.

I love dance and have been learning Bharatanatyam for over 10 years. I am now able to explore my interest (I) in different ways due to the Theater Arts for Holistic Development (TAHD approach used by Ujwal anna.

The movement activities enabled me to interact better with my nephew. Ishaan wanted me to carry him daily. Even before he left for the airport, he wanted me to carry him even though it was early in the morning and he was half asleep.

My teacher and I started creating these videos for parents to do with children. So the videos are also a way for me to engage the LIFESMART community and the SpecialSaathi community (E: Engagement with community).

Dear parents,

How do you use the arts to engage your child? How does your child use arts to engage others?

Join the conversation here and let us know!


Decoding “Neurodivergence”

If you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.

There is controversy about the source of this quote. Regardless of the source, I think about this idea many times. For example, when I go to my brother’s house and see the little fish tank, I always remember this saying. The question that I think about is:

What kind of environments are right for neurodivergent individuals?

This is an important question that I will consider in other posts too. Today, I will start by describing one environment that has worked for me. HashHackCode provides inclusive tech education and mentorship. I started with HashHackCode in May 2020. Because of Covid, I started with online classes. I worked individually with the mentor. Now, I am doing an apprenticeship program with HashHackCode.

Why HashHackCode works for me?

HashHackCode (HHC) works for me because it is specifically designed for neurodivergent individuals. In the earlier courses, HHC mentors taught me step by step. Mr. Manu Sekhar and his team gave me detailed practice assignments that are easy to follow.

Now that I am in the apprenticeship program, I go to the HHC office. The office is well designed and comfortable. I work with a team of other neurodivergent coders. Some parents are also part of the team. I feel comfortable and relaxed at HHC.

Over the last two years, I have become more interested in coding. I am hoping to continue working with the HHC team in the future. 

I had tried other coding programs before, but they did not spark my interest. I have become more interested after joining HHC.

My HHC Journey

First, I did ten levels of Creative Coding. Then, I did a course on professional web development.  During this course, I built the first version of the LIFESMART website.  Then I did the Datawhiz course.  After learning basics of mobile application development with flutter, we started working on web development.

Glad I did it!

I am glad that I decided to join HashHackCode. It is not just a coding program. Mr. Manu Sekar creates the right environment for his students. I did not have the right environments for me when I was going to school, so we homeschooled.  I could learn at my own pace and homeschooling was right for me. But now I need environments that are right for me.  HachHackCode is one such environment. 

In addition to classes, we have events such as the Christmas party in 2022.  We also volunteered at a TechDiva event designed to encourage women into coding careers.

I hope to work with neurodivergent coders and others as a team on projects in the community soon.

What kind of environments work for your son or daughter?  Join the conversation here.

Creative representation for this blog is done by our extremely talented CreativeSaathi associate Morpheus Nag



Hi today’s blog is quite insightful and detailed to understand how to better your child’s whole body and mind development

In order to be a part of an accurate personality development of your child , you don’t have to dig very deep into the pediatric world but have a fair idea about how the child develops in different domains like socially , physically , cognitively , orally , how they use big muscles , small muscles , how they play and do game

Lets go ahead and talk in more details

Every child is having a pace of developing when they come to life . Please remember don’t mistake one’s holistic development and growth as a competition . Every child gains weight differently from other child even during an infant stage. Parents should be patient and mindful of learning about milestones. There is no rule that all children in this world should say the syllable baba when it comes to language milestone

I would suggest read books , researches , published articles on child development to aware yourself with variations that can take place and are pretty normal

Every child’s development are dependent on many factors – genes , environment , diet , social environment , family history , birth history etc

Now lets shift our focus on what milestones to look forward to and explore more f you have a growing child or plan for one

Gross motor milestones – these are the skills that are age appropriate where the child is mainly suing the big muscles of body like should , calfes , thighs , back , abdominals for e/g playing with ball , kick a ball , swimming , running fast , changing direction while running etc

Fine motor milestones – these are the skills where child is learning to use and manipulate small muscles of body like fingers , hands for e.g holding a toys , shaking a toy , holding a crayon , doing puzzles , gripping a glass , etc

Self help milestone – these are age appropriate maneuvers of maintaining and managing oneself like eating , dressing , combing , toileting , etc

Cognitive milestone- these are skills that help a child to motor plan , comprehend , attend to a task , remember and retention of things , be oriented to place time and situation , executive functions , problem solve , ready to learn , focus and attend etc

Language milestones– focus on speech , oral skills , comprehension , body language , forming worsds and then sentences , spellings , memory related to language skills , communicating non verbally , story narration and telling , communicating needs , request , suggestions , comments , protests yes or no , I don’t know etc

Social milestone – these are placing importance on skills on socialisation and interaction like starting conversation , turn taking , negotiating , advocating , listening and attending , taking criticism , making friendships , keeping emotions in check

Creative Expression milestone – starting to draw shapes , figures , lines , explore with different drawing and painting tools , folding and manipulating paper to make crafts

Other milestones would be advanced play behavior , self regulation , emotional intelligence

Well we must keep in mind that right from a neonate to an adolescent , there a number of skills are developed that help in our survival and every person connected with childhood development should seek awareness and knowledge about these.

Once you have an intent to be aware about milestones you will be able to trace out at what pace the child is lagging or progressing and you can direct your parenting style accordingly

It is also important to be clear that children can have learning difference about these milestones that is they can have delay , they can be emergent but if we project proper therapies and enthusiasm , the milestones can be achieved fully or partially

Always remember it could be a delay but not completely absent , if a milestone chart says that swimming can occur till 5 years , your child might be lagging and so could achieve it by 8 years

You need to get in touch with good professional who help and guide and give you an outlook to respect your child’s growing capacity

So now your question would be where can you find these developmental milestones charts . Also note you can find charts for body weight , height , chest circumference and head circumference but don’t get blinded that you underestimate your child’s growth all the time if they don’t meet the criteria

This is harsh but my dear nobody criticizes you if you sugar and cholesterol levels are not within normal and you have diabetes. What you say .. this is part of life

So lets see where can you get these charts to understand your child’s development




Well CDC is your go to thing

See the link below to gain the insight

CDC’s Milestone Tracker App | CDC

I hope you felt I was talking sense about the growth and development of the children of our world

Also you as parent should be equally aware so that you can raise better concerns with your child’s therapist or pediatrician

Don’t be google smart but CDC smart


Creative Effort and Pediatric Physiotherapist – Heena Sahi

Artwork by Nikhil Thotam

Creative representation for this blog on milestones is done by supertalented CreativeSaathi associate Nikhil Thotam

changemakersaathi centers

नवचेतना New Consciousness- ChangemakerSaathi Centre

“मन – day की बात SpecialSaathi के साथ”

By Om Prakash Baweja Founder Director Navchetna Society, Ganga Nagar, Rajasthan

मैं ओम प्रकाश बवेजा, श्री गंगा नगर राजस्थान से
मेरे 2 बेटे जन्म से पूर्णतया नेत्रहीन होने के साथ साथ मानसिक दिव्यांग है, 26 अक्टूबर 1991 को मेरे बड़े बेटे का जन्म हुआ जो नेत्रहीन था, 8 वर्ष की आयु में हम उसे अन्धविद्यालय में एडमिशन के लिए लेकर गए तो उन्होंने हमें बच्चे का आई.क्यू. लेवल चेक करवाने की सलाह दी, चेक करवाने पर बच्चे का आई.क्यू. काफी कम आया तो अन्धविद्यालय वालो ने हमे ये कहकर की ये बच्चा नेत्रहीन होने के साथ साथ मानसिक दिव्यांग भी है अतः ये ब्रेल नही पढ़ पायेगा एडमिशन लेने से मना कर दिया फिर हमने बच्चे का एडमिशन मनोविकास विद्यालय में करवाना चाहा तो उन्होंने भी बच्चा ब्लाइंड होने के कारण एडमिशन लेने से मना कर दिया, ऐसे में हमारे सामने समस्या खडी हो गई कि यह बच्चा दैनिक क्रियाकौशल कैसे सीख पायेगा या हम इसे कैसे समझ पाएंगे फिर मैंने हमारे आस पास के राज्यो में भी दिव्यांगता के क्षेत्र में काम करने वाली संस्थाओं में सम्पर्क किया लेकिन बच्चा बहुदिव्यांग होने के कारण किसी ने भी मेरे बेटे का एडमिशन नही लिया, 2003 में मेरे घर एक और बच्चे का जन्म हुआ जो मेरे बड़े बेटे की तरह ही जन्म से नेत्रहीन व मंदबुद्धि था, दूसरे बेटे के भी दिव्यांग होने के कारण मैं काफी तनाव में आ गया था फिर मैंने अपने स्तर पर श्री गंगा नगर में सर्वे किया तो बहुत से ऐसे बच्चे जिनमे 2 या 2 से अधिक दिव्यांगताये थी घरों में ही थे और उनके हालात काफी खराब थे, इन हालात में मैं काफी टूट चुका था फिर मैं सेन्स इंटरनेशनल इंडिया जो बधिरान्ध-बहुदिव्यांग बच्चों के लिए काम करती है के संपर्क में आया और एक अभिभावक होने के नाते मैने सेन्स इंडिया के मार्गदर्शन व सहयोग से इन बहुदिव्यांग बच्चों पर काम करने का मन बनाया

20 सितम्बर 2005 को मैंने बधिरान्ध-बहुदिव्यांग बच्चों के 4 अभिभावकों को साथ लेकर नवचेतना सोसायटी के नाम से संस्था रजिस्टर करवाई, 2006 से हमने सेन्स इंडिया के सौजन्य से 1 विशेष शिक्षक को हेलन केलर इंस्टीट्यूट बॉम्बे में 2 वर्ष के लिए डेफब्लाइंड के डिप्लोमा के लिए भेजा, 2008 से हमने नवचेतना सोसायटी के माध्यम से बधिरान्ध-बहुदिव्यांग बच्चों पर होमबेस एज्युकेशन शुरू किया, 2008 से 2012 के अंत तक हमारे पास 20 बहुदिव्यांग बच्चे हो गए थे फिर हमने सेन्स इंडिया के आर्थिक सहयोग से 2013 से किराये के भवन में नवचेतना बहुदिव्यांग संस्थान के नाम से सेंटर की शुरुआत की
आज हमारे नवचेतना बहुदिव्यांग संस्थान को चलते 10 वर्ष पूर्ण हो गए है, हमें सरकारी गैर-सरकारी किसी भी तरह का अनुदान प्राप्त नही है, हम दानदाताओ के सहयोग से अब तक 200 से ज्यादा बधिरान्ध-बहुदिव्यांग बच्चों को विशेष शिक्षा, दैनिक क्रियाकौशल, व्यवसायिक प्रशिक्षण, फिजियोथेरेपी, स्पीचथरेपी, पुनर्वास की सेवाएं निःशुल्क उपलब्ध करवा चुके है, वर्तमान में हम 30 बहुदिव्यांग बच्चों को सेंटर में, 8 बच्चों को होमबेस सेवायें व लगभग 40 बच्चों को सपोर्ट सर्विस उपलब्ध करवा रहे है, 10 वर्षों के इस सफर में हम बहुत से बहुदिव्यांग बच्चों प्रशिक्षित कर समाज की मुख्यधारा से जोड़ चुके है, ट्रेनिंग की बदौलत आज मेरा बड़ा बेटा 100℅ व छोटा बेटा काफी हद तक आत्मनिर्भर हो चुके हैं

I am Om Prakash Baweja from Sri Ganga Nagar Rajasthan.
My 2 sons are completely blind from birth as well as mentally challenged. On 26 October 1991 my elder son was born who was blind. At the age of 8 we took him for admission in Andhavidyalaya and we were advised to get the child’s IQ level checked. When it came very less, the blind people told us that this child is blind as well as mentally handicapped, so he will not be able to read Braille, and hence they refused to take his admission.

In such a situation, a problem arose in front of us that how this child would be able to learn daily activities or how we would be able to understand day to day things, then I contacted the organizations working in the field of disability in our nearby states, but due to the child being multi-disabled, no one there did not take my son’s admission. In 2003 my second son was born who was also blind and retarded from birth like my elder son, I was under a lot of stress due to the second son also being disabled.

When I did a survey at my level in Sri Ganga Nagar, many such children who had 2 or more disabilities were at home and their condition was very bad. In those conditions, I was very broken, then I came to Sense International India who was working for deaf-blind and for multi-disabled children.

I came in contact with good people there and being a parent, I made up my mind to work on these multi-disabled children with the guidance and support of Sense India.

On September 20, 2005, along with 4 parents of deaf-blind children, I registered the organization in the name of Navchetna Society, from 2006, courtesy of Sense India.

We have sent 1 special teacher to Helen Keller Institute Bombay for 2 years for the diploma of deafblind. Then, from 2008 we started homebase education deaf-blind-multi-disabled children through Navchetana Society. From 2008 to the end of 2012 we had 20 multi-disabled children.Then we started the center in the name of Navchetna Bahudivyang Sansthan in a rented building from 2013 with the financial support of Sense India.

Today, our Navchetana Multi-Divyang Institute has completed 10 years, we do not receive any kind of government-non-governmental grant, we have provided special education, daily activities, vocational training to more than 200 deaf-blind-multi-disabled children with the help of donors. Navchetna has provided the services of training, physiotherapy, speech therapy, rehabilitation free of cost.

Presently we are providing home base services to 8 children and support service to about 40 children. Services in the center to 30 multi-disabled children, in this journey of 10 years we have trained many multi-disabled children and connected them to the mainstream of society. Due to this, today my elder son is 100℅ and younger son has become self-sufficient to a great extent.

Author Om Prakash Baweja

Founder Director

Navchetna Society, Ganga Nagar, Rajasthan

Artwork by Morpheus Nag

Artwork by Kabir Vernal

Creative representation for this blog is done by supertalented CreativeSaathi associate Morpheus Nag and Kabir Vernal

bloggersaathi Junior

“Special like stars….” – the journey of Sitaara crafts

An interview with the Founders Sitaara crafts – Tarini Kashyap, 14 and Muskaan Surie, 16

Sitaara Crafts, a platform for children with disability to showcase their crafts, took shape on 17 January, 2022 exactly an year back with the launch of its Instagram page by Tarini Kashyap, 14 years, and Muskaan Surie, 16 years, both kids with special needs. Read on to know more about the genesis, achievements, heartbreaks, and the road ahead for Sitaara. We hope you will share their story widely.

Q: So how did Sitaara come about?
Tarini: I had been asking my parents for some time to help me start an initiative as I was bored in COVID. I wanted to do something for other kids with disability. My mom agreed to support me, and she suggested the name “Sitaara” because it means star, or starlight, and my own name is so much like it. She chose the name “Sitaara” simply because it implies that all children with special needs are special like stars. My younger brother, Aadyant, 11 years, designed our logo. My great grandmother was born on 17 January, and we decided to launch on the auspicious day of her birth anniversary. We were soon joined by Muskaan. Muskaan and I were excited to get our stickers and visiting cards printed!

Q: Thank you. That’s interesting. Now may I ask Muskaan to tell us what all Sitaara showcases? What are your bestsellers and how did this evolve?
Muskaan: We try making crafts from waste or recycled materials. We want to make cloth totes fashionable for people. I have decorated so many white tote bags which have been a great hit on different festivals. My mom has scraps of cloth which we repurpose into small totes which people have loved to carry their books in!
Tarini: We also make jute coiled coasters on cut outs of old cardboard. These have been our bestsellers too. Also, when we receive an order, we use only recycled packaging – my mom has a ton of old Amazon and Myntra packets which we decorate and paint on to make them look different. We also make newspaper bags and paint them for our exhibitions.

Q: Wonderful. So tell us about your experience selling on Instagram, and also exhibitions. What challenges did you face?
Tarini: Selling through Instagram has been a wonderful experience. It is exciting to get orders. We have shipped to 20 states and 2 UTs in only the last one year. We use speed post which is economical and reliable. We have had hardly any cases when a packet did not reach, and even then, it comes back to us. On the challenges through social media, there are cases where people have canceled orders after we shipped, and 1-2 rare cases when they were not satisfied with the quality. So, we now try as much as possible to take advance payments because we now have a fair idea of shipping costs to almost all states! For the cases they were unhappy, we simply refunded. We want all our customers to be happy.
Muskaan: Our first exhibit was in October at my house society grounds. I felt so excited when our totes were picked up so fast, it was like they were flying off the table! At exhibitions we get to interact with people and tell them about us. But then exhibitions can get tiring and you need to stand for long so we try and choose wisely which ones Sitaara will take part in, and our moms help us decide.

Q: Your experience in both selling through IG and directly sounds awesome, that too at such a young age. Tell us what you think your biggest achievement is, so far?
Tarini: I think the fact that we have such a large and satisfied clientele all over India already.
Muskaan: That we got more than 150 orders, many of them repeat orders, in our very first year.

Q: Do you have other children collaborators too? How does one collaborate?
Muskaan: We have another young adult named Sunny who is hearing impaired. Bhaiya makes beautiful rakhis, origami products, and envelopes. We have a classmate Harshita who makes amazing hand-made rakhis and painted dupattas. We are open to more children and young adults with disability joining hands with us. They can simply send us pictures of their work, which we upload. When there is a sale, we arrange to collect and deliver the products. We then pay them either immediately or month end.

Q: So how is the work divided between you two?
Tarini: I take care of the social media marketing, I enjoy interacting with customers online. Where I have a doubt about what to reply, I ask mom.
Muskaan: I supply most of the products, the totes, which mom helps get stitched and then I paint them, or readymade totes which I love to paint. I have also created and decorated bookmarks, tags and envelopes. Tarini too creates things whenever she feels like, but her main job is marketing and for me it’s design, so our jobs are cut out.

Q: That’s super. We wish you both great luck as you move ahead. Any exciting plans for 2023?
Tarini: Thank you. We are excitedly looking at opportunities for exhibitions, and also keep trying for a collaboration and doing hands on work with some of the bigger NGOs. We would love to go there, spend time with people with disability, and help them.
Muskaan: We are so excited to get an opportunity to showcase Sitaara on ‘Satviki’, the SpecialSaathi online shop. I think they are doing great work reaching a wider audience of those who want to support children like us. We hope we will be able to bring our products to more people who will enjoy them.

Thank you Muskaan and Tarini. Wish you all the best as you try and reach further for the stars. God Bless!

Muskaan with her mum Divya Surie and Tarini with her mum Rashi Grover Kashyap.

Sitaara’s first exhibit – October 2022 Sitaara visiting cards

By Rashi Grover & Divya Surie

The featured artwork for this blog is done by our extremely talented CreativeSaathi associate Nikhil Thotam.