Build your Second Brain and Help Grow the Community Knowledge Garden

“Knowledge garden” is a metaphor for a dynamic and living system of information, ideas, and inspiration that interact, cross-fertilize, feed and grow on each other.

School of Commoning

A small story before I start this article. As I started planning this article, I asked Shilpi Mayank Awasthi, Founder of SpecialSaathi, whether one of the CreativeSaathis could do a creative representation of the second brain. Within a few hours, I had two creative representations! I started wondering how to best use these two representations by Dhrov Tikoo and Morpheus Nag. As I started writing the article, an idea came to me. I would use the two artworks to convey two different but related concepts. Dhrov Tikoo’s representation for conveying the idea of a knowledge garden and Morpheus Nag’s representation for the conveying the idea of a second brain.

I will be hosting our first webinar on the second brain concept and tools on January 9th, 2023. Please join our Facebook group here for information on this virtual meetup and other discussions on the second brain.

In the few months that I have been associated with SpecialSaathi, I am impressed with the way a knowledge garden has started evolving through the efforts of Shilpi Mayank Awasthi, Founder of SpecialSaathi. The SpecialSaathi structure of ParentSaathi, CreativeSaathi, BloggerSaathi, SoochnaSaathi and other initiatives paves the way for the development of a well-organized knowledge garden for the parent and professional community. There is a wealth of information on SpecialSaaathi. More importantly, this information is organized and curated to facilitate retrieval and use.

“Knowledge garden” Artwork by Dhrov Tikoo

Second Brain

Building a second brain is a systematic method for saving and retrieving ideas, inspirations, insights, and connections we’ve gained through our experience. The second brain is an external repository (notebooks and digital repository) for the things that we learn and the resources from which we learn.

Second Brain artwork by Morpheus Nag

The way that I will use the terms second brain and knowledge garden is as follows:

*Second brain refers to individual efforts to compile and curate their learning and resources.

*Knowledge garden is a community resource.

Individual efforts to harvest and organize their learning supports the development of a community knowledge garden. In turn, a community knowledge garden provides learning resources for individuals to harvest and include in their second brain!

Example 1: Rama’s SpecialSaathi Blog Posts and LIFESMART Webinars

I have started building a second brain that compiles selected blog posts that I wrote last year as well as links to our LIFESMART ParentSaathi webinars. While blog posts can be accessed from the SpecialSaathi website, my collection is a curated one. I have selected the posts that I want to talk about more in 2023. I have omitted some (e.g., on 100-day projects) because I will be writing newer versions of these articles in 2023 based on what we have been learning. This collection is built in Wakelet. I quickly embedded it in this post. Scan the posts in this Wakelet and read what interests you. Add it to your second brain!

Ananth’s 100-Days of Smile Brightly and Dance Project

Ananth is building a second brain for his Smile Brightly and Dance project. It is an organized resource that we use for our practice. As he does lessons with his teacher, Shri Ujwal Jagadeesh, we add resources to this second brain. The clearly organized individual second brain is also being shared as a resource for the community. There are many short videos of lesssons that parents can use to implement their own 100-Days of Smile Brightly and Dance project!

Benefits of Second Brain

  • The repository below is a detailed and organized record of our learning during the 100-Day project.
  • Resources can be accessed easily for review and practice.
  • Teachers can see learner’s activities and progress.
  • Resources can be curated and shared with the community in an organized manner.
  • The community has access to resources in one place rather than resources being scattered in posts in groups.

Build your second brain in 2023 and continue contributing to the SpecialSaathi and LIFESMART knowledge gardens! Together, let us build a better future for our children!

Author Dasaratha Rama


Storytelling Discoveries and Tips – 1

October 2022 – December 2022

This year has been a year of storytelling. I started blogging with SpecialSaathi in October 2022. I started learning Bharatanatyam with storytelling from Shri Ujwal Jagadeesh,a senior faculty and artiste at Ramana Maharshi Center for Learning (RMCL) in October 2022. I am also learning drama from Dr. Vaishnavi Poorna, Deputy Director of Ramana Sunritya Aalaya (RASA) India and storytelling from Ms. Usha Sankaran, a senior facilitator for RASA.

In December, I tried several storytelling techniques. I want to share three tips for bloggersaathis based on my experiences.

Thanks to Rajni pal aunty and Dhairya pal for creating the beautiful artwork that captures the message of this blog clearly.

Tip for Junior Bloggersaathis:

  1. Narrate stories and record them. Include videos in your blog.
  2. Interview people who inspire you. Include their thoughts and suggestions in your blog.
  3. Build a photo gallery in Pinterest. Use this gallery to narrate your stories.

Tip 1. Narrate stories and record them. Include videos in your blog.

This tip is based on my first project for December 2022. I presented The White Peacock story at a webinar on my birthday on December 2, 2022. I enjoyed sharing the story. I intend to do more storytelling videos in 2023. View the video below:

Thanks to Sathya aunty for stitching the kurta for my birthday and presentation. Sathya aunty is Mr. Manu Sekar’s mother. So we could plan the costume and check it out while learning coding! I am sharing this acknowledgement now because we took a picture with Sathya aunty and Mr. Manu Sekar at the Christmas party.

Thanks to Ms. Shilpi Mayank Awasthi for including my message based on the story in the first SpecialSaathi desk calendar 2023. It will be a great memory for us!

Tip 2. Interview people who inspire you. Include their thoughts and suggestions in your blog.

I interviewed Shri Ujwal Jagadeesh, a senior faculty and artiste at the Ramana Maharshi Center for Learning (RMCL). Read my blog here. I will be publishing more interviews in my blog in 2023. I will be summarizing these interviews and linking to the blog in the Gurus who Believe section of my website. See this page of my website here.

Tip 3. Build a photo gallery in Pinterest. Use this gallery to narrate your stories.

I have started compiling pictures and information on Pinterest. I am organizing pictures and descriptions on a board (Ananth’s Adventures). The Board is organized into sections. I am creating one section for each month. Now that I have started compiling and curating information on Pinterest, it will be easy to track and include the write pictures and information in my blog posts!

This is the first post where I have shared tips based on my explorations and discoveries. I plan to publish a post with tips each month. Thank you for reading my blog and let me know your suggestions for future blogs. You can email your suggestions to


The best part of the year for the Rodrigues family: Mega Christmas video

We wish you a merry Christmas.

The rocking ParentSaathis the power couple Janice and Bryne Rodrigues alongwith their super-awesome kids Joanne and Brydan wish you all a Merry Christmas through an episode from their YouTube Channel Autism and Beyond – A Positive journey of J & B

Merry Christmas!! 🎅 🎄 ❤️

BloggerSaathi CreativeSaathi

Can Shaadi season be a learning reason?

Travelling, learning and therapy- a homeschooling series by Manju K Iyer

Can Shaadi season be a learning reason? Let’s find the answer

Attending Marriage of a Cousin in Lonavala :

A great opportunity to travel, meet new people and socialise, exposure to overwhelming sensory surroundings for a Homeschooling family.

From Mumbai we had gone to attend a Marriage of my cousin at Lonavala. For a Homeschooler like me. Every opportunity coming my way is a golden one. The car trip itself was very interesting. We booked Uber from Vasai to Lonavala. The driver was a big fan and follower of Shivaji Maharaj. Lavanya shared what all she knew about Shivaji maharaj according to her knowledge from reading books. The Driver got motivated even more to tell her the tales about Shivaji Maharaj which she concentrated on listening to. Some words she understood and some I explained again to her.

In the marriage she saw beautifully dressed ladies. She got to meet a lot of new relatives she has never met before and she didn’t miss the opportunity in narrating to them her favourite Indian epic stories. I would say she found some good listeners. I noticed my daughter has reached the stage where she wants to show off now what all she knows…

During the marriage procession she saw other relatives singing some marriage songs on the mike.. She expressed her wish to sing as well and readily went to sing some of the songs she remembered. I think this has been the first marriage I attended where I saw her sitting in one place for a longer duration without feeling overwhelmed with a lot of sensory input and the need of running away to self regulate. It was a big achievement for us. I can say all efforts put together all these years have reached a state now where we can take her to places without worrying about how she will regulate herself for long hours.

After that we decided to do a short trip to Khandala. We went to Wagdevi temple, a pond, a park, sunset point and came back to leave for my sister’s home. This trip gave me a lot of confidence to take her to different places without worrying like before.

As looking for opportunities to learn for my daughter has become my second nature. There are possibilities that I might have done some things which I couldnt note down as well.. Hence I am sending some points which can be used to keep in mind when you go to a wedding or any function with your child.

1. Lets not shy to talk to people, your child is watching you. Conversations can help them listen and learn a lot in the process of understanding others’ perceptions.

2. Be focused on what you want to do instead of what others might be thinking about you or judging you.

3. Give the opportunity to your kid to take your pictures. Don’t think he or she won’t be able to do it. Kids learn when they do. Let the make mistakes and learn.

4. During lunch and dinner, let the child choose what they want to eat and carry their own plates if they can. I know it can be difficult. But try your best to let them be independent in choosing what they want to eat and carry their own plates.

5. Show them the procession and explain what is happening around them in easy language so that they can carry the memory.

6. Take pictures during the ceremonies, so that you show it to them later and discuss it in detail to help language development through exposure.

So, if it’s shaadi season, then do not worry, it can be ofcourse a reason to explore and learn.

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 Dhrov Tikoo

Creative representation for this blog’s theme is done by our talented CreativeSaathi associate Dhrov Tikoo.

BloggerSaathi CreativeSaathi

Turmoil of an Autism Mom Part 2

My journey with Autism By Megha Batra Jairath

मन – day की बात SpecialSaathi के साथ

Read the Turmoil of an Autism Mom part 1 by Megha batra jairath here…

I have a big problem, I think a lot, and my thoughts usually ponder over these areas related to my daughter Anaisha.

1) The Guilt!

The guilt of where did I go wrong, hounds me. The exact cause of Autism is still unknown, so I question, did it happen during my pregnancy, or was it due to bad parenting. Some people say, autism is caused due to MMR vaccination, some people say it was always there, and kids are born with it. But nothing is proven as of now. But the question is “Why me?” And the guilt is a never-ending one.

Anaisha is 6 years old now and she goes to the best inclusive school and is taking all possible therapies. And now finally when I have started giving some time to myself and planning to join my work full time as well, I wonder, am I giving too much time to myself and ignoring her? Because ideally, I should be doing a lot. But I often lose my focus and waste my energy on things that are just not required. I have lot of mood swings, lot of anxiety attacks, and they do affect Anaisha.


Why can’t she start speaking meaningfully, on her own, miraculously, as every child does! I have been waiting for years for this milestone to be met. Kids with Autism speak as well, but why Anaisha’s speech is not developing?Why her volume is still low? Why do her sensory issues keep on changing? Why do her issues keep coming back? Why do I have to make her practice, practice, and practice? Why can’t she converse with me and recall what happened in school. Everyone says I should keep on talking to her, and I do, but I get sad when I don’t get a response back. And then I lose my patience as well. Why don’t a miracle happens and fix everything alright. Why ?


Anaisha is the busiest of us all, she is the hardest-working person I know. First, she has her 8-hour school and then her 2 to 3 hours of therapy every day. But when her progress stops or goes slow, there is a discussion with her teachers and therapists on what else I can do to improve her. What’s her IEP, the next plan of action? But am I able to follow all the plans? The answer is no! Why do I miss some of the activities some days? I don’t know! Is it possible to do everything every day? I am not sure.


Why do some family members (not all), keep on poking about her speech? Why do they keep comparing her with other kids? Why can’t they just accept what the issue is and work on her instead of passing comments?
But I must admit, if God gave me a problem, it gave me a solution as well. I am blessed to have a support system. My biggest blessings are my immediate family and friends. I am glad that I am not alone in this journey, I have my parent’s support who are always available to help me and teach and take care of Anaisha. Anaisha has got the best teachers and therapists; she is going in the right direction.

Anaisha has got some amazing peers in school. Almost every classmate of Anaisha wants to help her. She has a left and a right hand, always ready to assist her!
Also, by God’s grace, I can at least afford her therapies and her school’s fee. I have seen lot of mothers who had to quit their jobs to take care of their child, but my office always supported me, it gave me flexibility to work part time for years.

With this struggle, I have started appreciating the process of achieving a target, and not just the success of achieving a target. It has given an opportunity to have unique experiences which have added value in my daily life. It has enhanced my problem-solving skills because of my ability to see them through a different perspective. It has helped me develop an ability to turn obstacles into opportunities. It has helped me rediscover myself. It has helped me realize of my innate potential. Anaisha is helping me do my HUMAN REVOLUTION every day.

Some days I wonder that may be its good that she doesn’t speak much, doesn’t demand much. She is such an obedient child (well not always, but most of the times she is!). Am I not lucky to have her? She finds happiness in small little things, not bothered about what world thinks of her, she is just happy in her own small world. And yes, she is the only person who loves me unconditionally. 😉

Sirf wo hi mujhe sachha pyar karti hai, aur mein bhi! 😉

Author Megha Batra Jairath

Megha is a mother of a 6-year-old girl on autism spectrum disorder. Megha is a working professional in an Energy Consulting firm in New Delhi. She has a strong inclination towards dance, which is her therapy for life. In her free time, you will often see her making Instagram reels @megbats2020

Artwork by Dhrov Tikoo

A beautiful creative representation for this blog depicting a bond between a mother with her child is done by a superbly talented CreativeSaathi associate Dhrov Tikoo