The Two worlds: Changemakersaathi Story

Bhuvaneshwari Kartikeyan – Changemakersaathi for December

The Two Worlds

I have been spending my last 2 decades in two different worlds, one, as a default of being born in and the other, a choice I took to spend my time in, which has now grown
into my passion….

Since my graduation in a mundane commerce stream [like so many others of my age], I was shown the world of AUTISM by an already enlightened colleague of mine, since then I have not looked back!!
Not only has my life changed for the better, but, it has also touched the lives of my immediate family and close acquaintances and made it a beautiful way to live and view it.
All along, to me, it was very obvious that the ‘regular’ world and its inmates neither had the time nor the inclination to know the ‘other’ special world.

The 2 worlds had an invisible wall between them, with doors for entry
into but no exit from one to the other!!

I could see that the inmates of the special world [including that of the caregivers] were found to be ever cheerful and ever giving what little they had, freely to those of who
asked of them and never complaining but all absorbed in their ‘own’ special world, while their ‘regular’ counterparts were pitying and giving an unhearing ear to the owes and
pains of the unknown world that they soon preferred to put away from their minds preferring to be absorbed by their own selfish and petty needs and worries…

At one point in my life, I was fortunate enough to be involved in a 3 month UNESCO project with the silent and ever striving NGO- ROSHNI, RKA, Gwalior whose aim was to narrow the divide between the 2 worlds through providing with personal care and training to the world of ‘special’ inmates and also to enrich and empower the ‘regular’ world about the ‘special’ needs and how to handle them within their given powers, capacity and time.

Thus, with a common mission and trained staff along with a receptive group of 20 regular school teachers, ROSHNI and UNESCO with the 20 selected and enthusiastic school
teachers put their heads together resulting in an enriching experience that concluded with heightened moral, spiritual and educated values that have transformed and touched
every one of the participants in a unique way for the better.

Starting from the view that the ‘regular’ world had no ear or heart for the ‘special’… to the view that the ‘special’ would not fit into the ‘regular’ world …this unique team and its mixed members realized that, once the invisible ‘wall’ was pulled down and a little time and effort put into the situation there was only hope, success, self respect, heightened self esteem and happiness for all involved on both sides of the ‘wall’.

One learnt that both sides had a lot to teach and learn from each other giving a wholesomeness that thus far, did not exist in anyone before this enlightenment occurred along the way. Thus many children viewed as being ill behaved were discovered to have had issues with coping with the various
expectations while many teachers wanting to help but not knowing how to were now empowered on how to read the warning signs and how to remedy the issue without
obviously doing so, well in time before further damage could be caused to the psychic of the child’s mind, spirit and body, to mention the least if at all any….

I would like to humbly conclude that, missions like these will and should go on for ever, with missionaries who will come and go during the time; goals that will and should
change according to need; so will the time taken for the needed change vary with the intensity of the goal; more ‘walls’ will be torn down between differences and more humanity brought out within each mankind during the process of change that takes place each time.


Creative representation for the ChangemakerSaathi story “The Two Worlds” is done by a supertalented CreativeSaathi associate Ansh Batra whose 2 paintings depicts 2 different worlds.

Artwork by Ansh Batra
Artwork by Ansh Batra


Mrs Bhuvaneshwari Karthikeyan has worked as special educator in –

BLOOMING BUDS SCHOOL Noida (2000-2001): Training children in age 3-4
years for Nursery and L.K.G .School admissions.
ASD Center, Spastics Society of Karnataka Bangalore (2002-2003): As
Volunteer worked with ASD children with facilitated communication board on
DSE-ASD Course (2003-04): Individualized Planning / Group Teaching on
(a) Sensory integration
(b) Behaviour modification
(c) Social skills training
(d) Communication through PECS and MEKETON Sign
Special Educator in Spastic Society of Karnataka:
(a) Class teacher to 9 children from 2004-2007 with mixed Disabilities CP
(Verbal / Non-Verbal), LD, MR (+Microcephaly), ADHD (Verbal), Muscular
Distrophy (Duncchen)

(b) ADL Training individually to Autistic / Non-Verbal / Blind child of
09 years between 2005 and 2006.
(c) Aided a Microcephaly low vision child of 11 years in tactile sense
enhancement and pre-vocational skill training.
(d) Counseling parents for better understanding between child-mother,
social issues support, continuity of class taught concepts at home.

(e) Record Maintenance / IEP / Annual reports per child per year of all
programmes implemented / planned / covered.
(f) Curriculum dealt with pre-learning skills in language / number skills /
Behaviour- social skills / gross fine motor sills / EVS / independent skills /
sensorial concept learning / communication through AAC picture symbol
charts to age group of 5-13 years.
Worked as special educator in ROSHNI, Ramakrishna Ashrama between 01
July 2007 and 12 April 2008.
(a) Educating the Autistic students [verbal and nonverbal] on Pre-Learning
Skills in Language (Expressive and Receptive), Number Skills, Behaviour
(Social Skills), Environmental Studies Skills, Independent Life Skills, Sensorial
Concept Learning, Alternative means of Communication through PECS and
Communication Board suiting their specific needs in mainly a one to one set
up besides taking them in a group situation at times. The age of children
varying from 3 to 15 years.
(b) Assessing Educational Needs of Children with ASD, CP, MR and
Multiple Disabilities (Age 0-7 years) in the Early Intervention Group.
(c) Maintaining monthly, 6 monthly and annual reports of each child
(individual and group session).
(d) Preparing outline of IEP Format and Annual Report for the 3 groups
functioning in the school i.e. Early Intervention group, Primary Group and the
Vocational Group covering all the developmental areas required to be
addressed for these groups.
(e) Involved in Coordinating and Conducting Workshops as a Resource
Person on behalf of ROSHNI [being a STATE NODAL AGENCY PARTNER of
National Trust] for Mainstream Teachers and Special Parents supported by
the Volkart Foundation and the National Trust throughout the year on various
topics concerning with Inclusive Education and Special Teaching Techniques.
(f) Being part of a UNESCO Project that involved in making an Indian
Adapted Version Of The Teachers’ Guide For Inclusive Education. The
scope of work involved identifying 16 schools in the mainstream teaching to
participate in workshops, training a selected representative of the school to try
out the UNESCO’s teachers’ guide on any special child in their class / school
and see whether the guide works in the Indian set-up or not and if so, what
does and what doesn’t. This involved visiting the 16 schools and observing
the special child in his / her classroom setup, check their note books, the
layout of the classroom, for any changes and give remedial to the teachers on
how to handle the child, record an IEP for the child concerned and support the
teacher in changing her teaching methods to make inclusion work, finally
rewriting the Teachers’ Guide and coming out with an Indian version of the
• Worked as Special Educator in Udhavi, Connoor, Nilgiris between Jul 08 and
Apr 09. Involved with the assessment and formulation of programmes for
children with Autism and Cerebral Palsy between ages of 10 and 12.
Aided in starting a parent run special group called SPARRSH (yet to be
registered) of 7 children (aged between 3 and 12 years). Supported them in daily
conduct of sessions on language / communication / academics / social / behavior
/ ADL / motar skills from Jun 09 to Nov 09 on a One-to-One basis as well as

->Cosy cots 2009-2010 Dwaraka
Special school she focused on academics ADLs training communication and yoga.

->2010- 2011 Asha school, Base Hospital New Delhi
26 ASD MR and CP kids from age 5 to 18 years
One to one sessions and group on SI, gross motor, Fine motor, ADLs, expressive and receptive language,pottery, computers, speech,cognitive and perception sessions
PT meets,REPORT CARD FORMATING AND ASSESSMENT FORMATS COMPILED, upgrading of services for ASD kids already existing in school but denied to ASD kids due to stereotyping ensured
Integrated socializing and play therapy inculcated into the school system ,sports day and its practice sessions

->2011-2013 Spastic Society Karnataka second tenure as prevocational skills, functional literacy and basic living skills training,physio therapy, communication, social skills and practical training in cooking shopping sight word literacy and survival

–>2016-2017 Abhilasha school secunderabad mixed disabilities with basic skills training and academics in group
Online free one to one specific home management tips on go and individual forums from2018 still ongoing.

–>In kanpur chakeri under AFFWA as president AFFWA (local)
2021-2022 reopened 4 schools(2 kindergarten underprivileged school and one special school…) closed during covid and kept them running to full strength from maintenance of buildings and grounds play and education equipment to recruiting of teachers training them with teaching capsules and log book and IEP trainings and record maintenance ,SI,physio therapy,hearing and sign language training
Integrated inclusive education.New Education policy and RTI into the 4 schools intake and daily running of classes.

->Trained special kids and teachers in alternative methods of communication vocational training in masala making..Candle making.. paper bags..greeting cards…jewelry making tailoring.

Author Bhuvaneshwari Kartikeyan

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!