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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.


Executive Functioning – Sequencing

A video tutorial on an easy and fun way to teach a child about sequencing.
Easier steps to follow, so that children are able to learn it. It helps in the language and executive functioning development of a child.

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

Life skills not to be missed for your ASD child

Life skills not to be missed for your ASD child

Hi , in today’s blog I am going to put forward about four important life skills that need to be aware and must develop in your child with Autistic personality

What are mainly life skills? What do they mean for us ?

“Life skills are anything that is desirable and essential for full participation in life”

In case of an individual with Autism , life-skills are  are important to attain independence at home , school , community , increase self confidence and self esteem

So how to start developing life skills for a child with autism and what is the best time to do

Well time is as much  early as possible

If its early it will definitely add happiness in different areas in their life

Now , how to start ?

Well every person on autism is unique and different so their pace to learn and execute shall vary

An important mantra is to give clear , easy and to the point instructions and do hands on rather than expecting them to do it all at the first go

Your intent should be to build confidence in the skill first and then develop the precision and fineness

Remember , they learn , process , express and execute differently and we must enter their world

What are four important life skills that must be in your to do list ?

Well , you should always OWL your child

AHHHH are you confused what is owl ?

Haha …this is O- observe , W- wait , and L- Let your child take lead

So this is observing your child for their specific interest around the chores in the daily routine

You should have a supportive role and practice is the key

Four skills that are utmost important and can influence learning other life skills are

1.Reading and Registering a visual schedules and supports

These can include – morning checklist ,night routine cards , school time table , playtime schedules, therapy routine charts etc

This skill will prepare them to understand what goes in their day and help them be the boss and take control of situation . You will notice less aversion and rigid and challenging behaviours

2. Teach your child to take breaks

The child can get overloaded , overstimulated , understimulated , tired , bored and confused. In order to emotionally regulate , they must be learning to convey that they want break or time out to sort themselves and keep emotions in check

This will again help in lessening out of character and disruptive escalating behaviours and situations

3. Community safety skills

Well this is very important skill. This is because the child might have sensory processing difficulty that can interrupt them to understand safe and unsafe choices and land up in an inevitable accident

So , community safety skills should not be forgotten .This will include understanding danger signals signs , safety signs , travelling in public transport , playing public places. You can start social stories to develop on these skills

4. last and again an important one – teach money skills

Well you might say , the child should have pre- numeracy skills to understand money and further quantification.

How to sort this , try recommending in your child’s school IEP to add money skills , along with this , whenever you get an opportunity , like in grocery , or super market , encourage your child to handover the money to the cashier. This might create better awareness and enlightment about using money as an entity

You can gradually progress to different settings

Broadly speaking , there many more important life skills that you can develop in your child with ASD , but these  four should always be on your bucket list

Other skills you can promote for learning are :

Work on self care – dressing , toileting ,personal hygiene , eating etc

Work on leisure skills – ball skills , cycling , recreational activities like painting , playing any instrument

Work on house hold chores – to encourage child to take ownership and responsibility

Well , I hope this was quite informative and now you have step by step guide when it comes to teach life skills to your autistic child

Please leave comments if you wish more details on any one particular skill


Creative Efforts and Life skills Mentor – Heena Sahi

Artwork by Morpheus Nag

Creative representation of various life skills is wonderfully done by my little buddy CreativeSaathi associate Morpheus Nag

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

Cranky in Kennedy Space Center – Another Educational Tour

March 11 2006
One day I went to the Kennedy Space Center with my homeschooling group. I was excited to meet a bunch of other kids.

There are many attractions in the Kennedy Space Center. These include the US astronaut Hall of Fame, Mission control, the Rocket Garden, the astronaut encounter, and the heros and legends. It was fun to see the attractions in the Kennedy Space Center with the homeschooling group.

Creative representation by Kabir Vernal

This visit sparked my interest in space exploration. In particular, I was fascinated by Neil Armstrong’s walk on the moon.

Thanks Kabir for your beautiful painting. It shows how I imagined a spacecraft taking off when Neil Armstrong went to the moon. Unfortunately, my imagination did not stop there. I used to picture Neil Armstrong living on the moon. Whenever I met my cousins, I would talk about Neil Armstrong living on the moon. While I know people cannot live on the moon, I had great fun imagining Neil Armstrong living on the moon.

January 7-8 2007
When I learned we were going to the Kennedy Space Center a second time, I was very excited. If you remember my Biscayne Bay story, you know that I can get very excited about the 30th floor and other things. Space was another such interest. Maybe you can also predict that the trip may not have worked out as one might expect!

I dashed down the stairs and woke my parents up at 3:30 in the morning excitedly. My mom told me to calm down and said that we cannot go to the Kennedy Space Center this early. I then tried to go back to sleep. However, I was too excited. Hence, I could not sleep. I went down again at 4:00 pm. My mom told me to go back to sleep.

I then woke up again at 4:30 in the morning and saw that my mom was packing food. So I sat on the bed for some more time and thought about the trip. Finally, we got ready. All of us were quite sleepy.

We got in the car and dad started driving. Throughout the drive, I was excited about all the attractions. We reached the Kennedy Space Center and started seeing the attractions. I started getting tired and cranky within an hour. I started saying I want to go back. Aneesh grumbled that I wake him up early in the morning and then do not let him see anything. He told mom that he knew that I would drag him to far away places and not let him see much.

We toured the Kennedy Space Center for a few hours. Since I was very tired, I did not pay much attention to the exhibits. We then went to the hotel. Next day, we went to Disney world and had fun.

As you can guess, this became one more play that my mom and I acted. Of course, mom played Ananth, and I played mom. We always used to have fun making up and acting plays even if the trips did not end up the way we wanted.

Ananth Raghunandan

Kabir’s artwork description-The art piece “Rocket” is a process art, which is partially a collage and partially painted. Kabir has drawn, coloured and cut the rocket and then pasted on a sheet of paper, that he has painted on. The art depicts a Rocket against a backdrop of a sunny day, with meadows, tress and wildflowers below.