“Society Should Work Towards Providing Equal Opportunities to the Children with Special Needs”: Surabhi Verma

Surabhi Verma, Director, Sparsh For Children
Surabhi Verma, Director, Sparsh For Children

The parents of children with special needs had to go from one therapy centre to the other for different needs which need a lot of time being spent in travelling which is tiring for the parent as well as the child. The need for a therapy centre where all the services (early intervention setup, special education, occupational therapy, speech & language therapy, play & study group therapy and psychological services) under one roof lead Surabhi Verma to the idea of ‘Sparsh For Children’. Sparsh for Children is a multidisciplinary therapy center located at Delhi. Founded in 2005 this it aims to integrate the differently abled children and their families into the societies effectively.

Biz Stories talks to Surabhi Verma, Director, Sparsh for Children

Pls brief about the courses you have for students.

The range of services being offered at Sparsh are as follows:

Early Intervention Setup- This is an intensive programme in which we work with children in the age group of 2-5 years, diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. The child takes therapies for three hours a day, five days in a week and the frequency depends upon the need of the child which is determined at the time of the assessment. During the last three months of the programme or during subsequent year, depending upon the improvement shown by the child, we integrate the child into a regular play-school. The child is accompanied by our special educator till the time the child is comfortable in the classroom setup.

Special education- We provide one-on-one therapy in which the child is given individual attention for working on the areas of deficit. This provides the child back up which helps him/her cope effectively at school.

Occupational Therapy & Sensory Integration- These sessions are conducted on one-on-one basis through play activities which caters to stimulation of individual’s sensory needs and helps the child in sensory integration, developing fine and gross motor skills and improving sitting behaviour. It provides multi sensory therapy for tactile, visual, auditory, propriceptive and vestibular sensations.

Speech & Language Therapy- Our goal is to improve useful and functional communication based on child’s skills and decide which method would best suit the child’s ability and need. Individual speech sessions and Language & Communication group sessions are provided by a qualified speech therapist to children having difficulties in speech. PECS or Picture Exchange Communication Systems is used by us to assist children in building a concrete and useful vocabulary that is essential for communication. Speech and Language Therapy is provided to the children to develop the communication skills.

Psychological Services- To support your child’s emotional, social and behavioural well being, we provide psychological counselling to help children who experience issue. In addition, we formally assess children and provide detailed reports to schools and pre-schools about children’s needs.

How many branches you have at present? And what is your staff strength?

We are currently based out of Sheikh Sarai Phase –I in Delhi. We have a tie ups with various schools in which we are providing support services for children facing difficulties and advising them on how to structure their curriculum and design the training modules for their staff.

We currently have 15 employees who are working on full time and part time basis. They are all qualified special educators, occupational therapist and speech and language pathologist. Special Educators are also given one month mandatory training after they join the organisation.

How the curriculum developed?

The curriculum is designed purely on the individual requirements of the child. The planning is done on a monthly basis.

How the fundings are met? How much invested in the company so far?

The funding has been done from personal sources and we have invested approx 20 lakhs in the overall infrastructure and materials.

What are the marketing strategies adopting? How effective they are?

We mainly rely on the reference model in which the parents spread the word. Also there are many paediatricians with whom we have been working for a long time. As part of the marketing strategy, we also advertised through local yellow pages, online marketing through facebook, local newspapers, articles, meetings with various schools and professionals.

What are the challenges facing?

Part of our work also includes parent counselling as many of the parents remain in denial of the special needs of the child. Also few of the parents are often not very serious about the continuity of the therapy and hence are very erratic which in turn has an adverse effect on the child.

There is also a need to change the perception in the society towards children and instead of pity.

Future plans ?

Under the Sparsh For children society, we want to create an integrated setup where children with special needs can work along with their regular peers. Also we are planning to create a setup to provide vocational training to children with special needs to help them be independent.

“When a child is able to achieve the unexpected and is able to fare well in academics or in other activities, there is a sense of achievement and also seeing the happiness in the eyes of the parents is the biggest satisfaction which we feel” concludes Surabhi.



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