25 February 2020

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For Children with Special Needs

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The growing education sector his considered to be one of the sunshine sectors of the Indian economy but some significant sectors like ones for children with special needs continue to be a largely ignored subset. Sparsh, a multidimensional and multidisciplinary therapy center located at Delhi has been a game changer in providing equal opportunities to children with special needs. The brainchild of social entrepreneur Surabhi Verma, Sparsh for children was founded in 2005 and has been going strong providing a one stop shop for all children with special needs. The growing popularity of Sparsh has made sure that parents no longer need to take their children from one therapy centre to another and can get all therapies like special education, occupational therapy, speech & language therapy, play & study group therapy and psychological services under a single roof.

Diverse Therapy Bouquet:

The availability of a wide range of dedicated services for children of all age groups with special needs is the driving force behind the successful journey of Sparsh. The group offers an early intervention setup program designed for children between the age of 2 to 5 years diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder.  “Sparsh provides one-on-one therapy in which the child is given individual attention for working on the areas of deficit” says Surabhi.

Apart from speech and language therapy, various occupational therapies and sensory integration programs are part of the curriculum of Sparsh. According to Ms. Surabhi Verma, "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”. Sparsh believes in offering Psychological Services walking as partners to support every child's emotional, social and behavioral well being. Sparsh offers dedicated in-house psychological counseling to help children who experience issue. In addition, the group also formally assesses children and provides detailed reports to schools and pre-schools about children's needs.

A Specimen of Successful Self Funded Social Project:

As part of a social entrepreneur program, Sparsh is largely funded by the personal funds of the founding member Surabhi Verma and currently has 15 employees who are working on full time and part time basis. Ms. Verma has so far funded 20 lakhs in the overall infrastructure and materials. Based out of Sheikh Sarai Phase –I in Delhi, Sparsh has an active 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.

Marketing and Word of Mouth Publicity:

Operating on a shoe string budget, Sparsh does not reply of hard marketing tools but focuses on the reference model. Most of the client inquiries for Sparsh are generated by word of mouth publicity with parents of children enrolled with the organization putting in a good word about their quality of service and work ethics. In the words of Ms. Surabhi Verma, "as part of the marketing strategy, we also advertised through local yellow pages, online marketing through social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, local newspapers, articles, meetings with various schools and professionals".

Challenges and Roadblocks Faced by Sparsh:

Since a large number of parents do not understand the significance of sending their kids to a special school catering for the special needs for their children, Sparsh faces a roadblock in convincing parents about the therapy and its advantages. “Some 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”, says Ms. Surabhi Verma. Sparsh also fights the traditional perception in the society towards children with special needs.

The Road Ahead:

As part of its future expansion plans, Sparsh for children society wants to create an integrated setup where children with special needs can work along with their regular peers. The group hopes to increase their hands on participation with various schools across the capital in providing support services for children facing difficulties and advising them on how to structure their curriculum. Sparsh has come a long way from its inception in 2005 driven by the cause of helping children with special needs lead a normal life. The group hopes to drive on their path of special empowerment in the coming years.



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