Important points to be followed by any Special Mother

A video blog by Pinki Kumar on important points to be followed by any Special mother.

Author Pinki Kumar

Pinki is a special educator, play therapist and a mother of a neurodivergent kid. She has a YouTube channel Play and learn to teach different methods and strategies. These videos are a great resource for the parents to help their child learn various skills.

BloggerSaathi CreativeSaathi

Non-verbal¸communication and use of Declarative Language

I want to ask you all, Do we need to be verbal to communicate? I don’t think so, then why stress so much for it. Of course, it’s the most common way of communicating, most of the junta communicates in this mode, but our kids are different so their way of expressing CAN be different. 

Now, let’s cut the chase. 

I remember seeing “PUSHPAK” movie growing up. I think, most of us might have seen the movie; we have seen, enjoyed “Tom & Jerry”, “Charlie Chaplin”. All of these didn’t have dialogues. Most of the communication was non-verbal. Non-verbal is the foundation of communication, that’s the first stage, a child communicates to his/her parents. The child senses the parent’s expressions and gets an idea of his surroundings. 

Next, for any communication to be successful, it has to be in partnership. Most of the time, we talk to our kids in Q&A mode i.e the Imperative language. “What is this”, “Tell me that”, “Say : Bye”. We don’t leave any room for the child to think. But, an authentic or real conversation is mostly experience sharing and using lot of declarative language, else it’s sermon-like or answering a paper filled with Qs. 

Now, let’s get to practice :

Non-verbal communication includes 

  • usage of lot of facial expressions, eye gaze,
  • intonations,
  • prosody
  • lot of pause (can’t emphasise enough the value of it)

Declarative Language, simply put, is saying out loud, what you are thinking or experience-sharing. “Yumm, I love these soft Idlis”, with lot of eye-wideing and facial expressions showing it. “oh no, I wanted to drink Chai, but we are out of sugar”. Problem solve it by saying everything out loud. Let your child see and notice how we do problem solving in the real-world. 

We practice it with –

  • Use lot of non-verbal ways of communications,
  • communicate to enhance “thinking”
  • use experience-sharing
  • Model, not instruct

Eg :

“Look, Daadi is here. Hello Daadi.”, now look at your child as if to expect him to say. Transfer the responsibility to the child. Pause, If child responds, job well done, or if the child even looks at you or Daadi, communication has happened, acknowledge it. 

By not giving the exact words for child to say, you are giving a possibility for your child to think. 

“Look Beta, Daadi is leaving” , now look at your child, transfer the responsibility. If the child says “Bye” nothing like it, else we simplify it more, give them clues to facilitate thinking. you can say, “I wonder what we say when someone is leaving”, pause, look at your child, no response, it’s alright, we model “aah, when someone leaves we can say “Bye-bye”, “Bye Daadi, see you soon”. and you can invite the child to say Bye simply by looking at him, his response can be verbal or non-verbal (looking at you or Daadi). That’s the foundation you have built. We might have to repeat the same exercise with different set of people few times, but trust me, once the child gets it, we don’t have to instruct anymore. Later on, he will get the other cues too quickly. 

So, let’s focus on Declaratives and non verbal communication to get to verbal. Let’s STOP hounding and be partners !!! Let’s redirect ourselves towards building Dynamic thinkers who can problem solve themselves

Artwork by Lavanya Iyer

Creative representation for this blog has been done by our talented CreativeSaathi junior Lavanya Iyer. Non verbal conversation/ communication is depicted through the bond and connection between Radha and lord Krishna.


How to teach What’s the Difference Concept: Play and learn by Pinki Kumar

A video tutorial on how to teach our kids about finding the difference in two images.

Author Pinki Kumar

Pinki is a special educator, play therapist and a mother of a neurodivergent kid. She has a YouTube channel Play and learn to teach different methods and strategies. These videos are a great resource for the parents to help their child learn various skills.

BloggerSaathi CreativeSaathi

Good travel, good learning, good therapy and the best memories

Travelling, learning and therapya homeschooling series by Manju K Iyer

We have come from Gurgaon to Mumbai visiting my sister in Vasai after a long gap after lockdown. I made this visit for 45 days. After coming here, I decided that we will explore nearby areas on foot. As I am homeschooling my daughter, staying at a relative’s place and exploring the neighbourhood areas was a part of my plan to build a base for learning because for her walking itself is a big task and also a beautiful co-regulation activity.

We went to many places in the past week like a temple, a pond, a church, a market, an exhibition on different days. Daily walking in the day time gathering some vitamin D from our favourite Suryadev.

Yesterday, I thought let’s try the areas nearby Vasai station to see if there will be something to shop as well as learning for Lavanya. As its far away we took an auto. On the way I saw a Gurdwara, I instantly decided, this is the learning spot for us today. I had never gone to a Gurdwara before this. As we entered the gate Lavanya spotted a poster on the wall which spoke about the proper dress code. So now the challenge was whom to ask if we are still allowed as we did not have a dupatta to cover our heads. Luckily some volunteers were doing seva in a group. I pushed
Lavanya to go and ask them help. Before she went they themselves approached and guided us to a lady volunteer who helped us wear cloth on head and guided us on how to pray and shared meaning of whole mantra they say. Lavanya had conversations with her as she caries a curious mind with her which makes her ask lot of questions. In the process Lavanya got lot of oppotunities to talk to total strangers and some socialisation part was covered according to my plan.

While we were returning, one volunteer was washing clothes. So Lavanya had questions to ask him like where will you dry this, are the clothes heavy etc. He answered patiently and fulfilled her curiousity.

We also sat to do some seva with other volunteers there by making small parts of used puja flowers which will be then used as manure for plants. Here I got again an opportunity for doing a coregulation activity where my role was to hand over flowers to her one by one and she had to seperate the petals. Here again she did some discussions and my heart felt content that this is what I always wanted to happen.

This is our experience of our homeschooling with some learning some therapy and socialising with the volunteers and getting blessings of babaji.

Learning can happen anywhere and anytime. Thanks for reading. 🥰🙏

Author Manju K Iyer

Manju K Iyer is a Psychologicist, Counselor, Parent coach, Play Therapist, Homeschooler and Founder of PlayTime ( A coaching program for parents of children with special needs).

Artwork by Lavanya Iyer

Lavanya Iyer is the daughter of the author Manju K Iyer. She is 9 years old and on Autism spectrum. She loves to read, draw, paint, and do traditional dance. She is a CreativeSaathi junior with our team now.

BloggerSaathi CreativeSaathi

What a Shadow teacher should know ?


What a Shadow teacher should know ?

Hi , today’s blog would be a relief to many parents and professionals

Why I say so ?

This is because , we all have faced a situation to find or approached to look for an effective shadow teacher for our child having diverse and additional needs by the school

We might also come across challenges in that journey to find a shadow teacher and if we found one , we are not convinced or confident of their skills

A shadow teacher is not separate profession , it is usually performed by a special educator. Now days , budding psychologists and professionals in the special world are also interested to take up this important role . Sometimes parents are also looking forward to become a shadow teacher for their child to maximise their potential.

Well every nation , country have different set of rules , laws set on job role of special educators , and so this definitely affect the responsibility and need of shadow teachers

In our own country , situations and circumstances are very different about shadow teachers in North India when compared to  South India.

Now lets come to the point what a shadow teacher should know when they are working with a child with special needs in a mainstream school scenario

This implies to any profession , be it special educator , psychologists , freshly passed out professionals seeking job opportunity in the special needs world or a parent themselves

If they are not aware of any of the important skills mentioned in this blog , they must try taking trainings , attend professional development programmes to improve and build up these skills

Please remember – shadow teacher is an important responsibility and not just any temporary professional engagement. A child relues on his/her shadow teacher for their performance

So what a shadow teacher should know ?

  1. What is behaviour , what are different types of behaviour , ABC chart , and Strategies to management , regulate and replace challenging behaviours  
  2. Role and responsibility towards school , parents and child
  3. Must be aware of learning style of the child i.e  tactile , visual , kinaesthetic or auditory or reading
  4. Must be aware of sensory processing and sensory integration
  5. Must be aware about what is an IEP and Behavior Management Plans
  6. Must know the difference between a PT , OT , psychologist , speech pathologist and special educator , prosthetics and paediatricians
  7. Must have good idea about developmental milestones –  cognitive , social , emotional , gross motor , fine motor , language
  8. Must have good and optimal knowledge and understanding of Autism , ADHD , LDs and Neuromuscular disorders
  9. Must be well affluent about visual supports , AACs , assistive devices , transitions and life skills, social stories and scripts and Podds
  10. Must be flexible to endure unavoidable circumstances at school or in classroom e.g sudden change in time table for the child  
  11. Must have fair idea about differential instructions to an autistic child /adhd child /child with dyslexia or dysgraphia
  12. Must be spontaneous and witty
  13. Must share and give feedback
  14. Should have good oral and written communication skills
  15. Most important should be calm and patient and have a big heart

My blog intends to create awareness in parents about what to look for when they appoint or search a shadow teacher

I hope this is helpful and an eye opener, You can keep this blog handy with you when you look for a shadow teacher for your child from now on

I know it’s not easy to get a shadow teacher for your child. I understand you

But above all keep in your mind , you have to be or you to find an effective shadow teacher for your child and not a good shadow teacher

All the best parents . Keep up good work


Creative Efforts and Former shadow teacher – Heena Sahi

Artwork by Dhairya Pal

The creative representation for my write up on shadow teachers is done beautifully by our newly incorporated CreativeSaathi associate Dhairya Pal. His artwork depicts the mother-son bond between a mother elephant and a baby elephant. What else do we parents expect from the shadow teachers that they take care of their child in a way that a mother does.

Thank you Dhairya!