In conversation with Nitin Bindlish, CEO, Mom’s Belief
We take pride in ourselves for identifying a problem and delivering a set of carefully curated programs that work on solving this problem.
1. What does Mom's Belief stand for and what makes you stand apart from the rest in terms of catering to children with neuro developmental needs?
Mom’s Belief is an organisation that was developed to cater to children with developmental delays and their families. We try to support families with early intervention and by empowering their parents to participate in their learning and building appropriate skills. Our aim is to empower parents of children with special needs to act as co therapist, teacher, advocate and help in children’s growth to their best potential. Our Vision, "No Child Left Behind”, is based on inclusion model and to see a world where no child, regardless of their special needs or developmental delay, is left behind. By adhering to the principles set by us, we wish to achieve our mission to touch and improve more than 1 million lives of children in the next 10 years.
We take pride in ourselves for identifying a problem and delivering a set of carefully curated programs that work on solving this problem. Having been so deeply embedded in our society’s consciousness, the lack of attention given to children with neurodevelopmental disorders can easily be solved by just a small amount of extra effort and awareness. This is exactly what we at Mom’s Belief provide to those families out there who have been ignored, abandoned and therefore need support to achieve their ideal form of happiness.
2. What are the initiatives taken in educating the parents to take care of their children with special needs?
Mom’s Belief’s virtual therapy programs provide the choice of accessible and affordable therapy support. It has been identified that a significant number of families in India are not able to afford the time and money required for regular therapy sessions for their child with special needs.
Programs like our Home Therapy has initiated concepts like empowering parents to become their child’s co-therapists. Such initiatives can be seen as a Neurodevelopmental Guided Therapy Program through which experts at Mom’s Belief work closely with parents by doing age appropriate assessments and subsequently guiding them with resources, training, and ongoing mentoring.
Not just that, we also have other initiatives like our Mom’s Belief Integrated Centres which provide professional therapies with 24,000+ sessions per month, Inclusive Schools Program which provide clinical support and resource integration to make schools more inclusive for children with special needs. We have created an eco-system by creating a viable option of Home Therapy Program that will cater to early intervention and increase the opportunity of children being mainstreamed however some children may need further assistance therefore our initiative of working with children can take care of their needs at later ages as well. Mom’s Belief is working on continuity and at various levels to improve the wholistic situation of those with special needs.
3. How does Mom's Belief monitor, guide and provide resources to the children who fail in exploring their capabilities to learn and grow in life?
Mom’s Belief has plethora of programs that it developed in its 3-year R&D period from 2015-2018. The sole purpose and goal of this hardcore R&D period was to create a good quality and quantity of programs that can be adapted as per individual child’s need and to be able to cater to children with various disability needs. We have also developed around 1000+ tools and resources that can empower learning and provide effective participation of children in their developmental journey through the support of their parents.
We monitor each child’s progress regularly to ensure that the plan given to them is individualized and meet their needs so they can grow and show significant progress as per the existing plan so that further goals can be created and met. A constant back and forth between the children, parents, and their assigned therapists is done so that we are able to monitor the progress of our children (clients).
4. Today, parenting has become a very challenging task. How do you think parents can turn into therapists when they struggle to uphold the child's special need for attention and care all the time?
Parenting can be a challenging task and more so when you have a child with developmental difficulties or disorder. It becomes a stressful journey because of two major reasons:
(I) A lack of awareness about the condition their child may have;
(II) Negative Social stigmas attached to developmental disorders
When combined, it results in the isolation of such parents within their communities and often within their own families. It becomes extremely necessary to provide the right kind of support to help their child develop and rise above the challenges of their difficulties or disorder.
Global research has proved that with the right kind of knowledge and resources, such as those provided by Mom’s Belief, parents can be trained to help their child with disorders like ASD, Global developmental delays or ADHD etc. It has also been observed that such a parent-led intervention can deliver excellent, long-lasting results, thus increasing the quality and consistency of treatment provided to the child. Harnessing the power of parental instincts and combining them with professional expertise is how Mom’s Belief tackles the problems that are thrown at a family with a special need’s child. A majority of the solution lies in first reaching out to families by spreading awareness and then providing accessible and affordable solutions to their problems.
5. In the grim times of the pandemic, when everyone is struggling to balance out their mental state amidst the pressure of several kinds, how can you help in maintaining the emotional well-being at the time of uncertainty?
With medical professionals stressing the importance of social distancing and staying at home, there has been a rise in household’ stress levels globally. It has become clear that staying at home for long periods can adversely impact the mental wellbeing of people. Realising that this isolation situation can have extreme effects on families with special needs children, Mom’s Belief has stepped forward to provide emotional support to those who need it the most.
Embracing the marvels of Teletherapy, we have tried our best to ensure that the shutting down of special schools, therapy centres, and services do not result in the complete isolation of the families associated with us. The sudden change in routine can have short- and long-term negative effects on a child’s progress and development and so making sure that families don’t have to start from point zero is our mission. We have adapted to provide the most amount of support and guidance possible for parents and their children, thus enabling them to wither this storm rolling down on all of us.
The role of Support Groups, specifically for special needs families, has exponentially increased in current times. Connecting with others like them, handling similar situations on platforms suggested by us has allowed families to fight the glooming sense of isolation. Knowing that others out there will understand what you are going through can create a sense of belonging and comfort.
6. What changes did Mom's Belief observe in the due course of lockdowns, especially while catering to the needs of children with moderate neurodevelopmental issues?
The Home Therapy Program provided by Mom’s Belief has always been a favourite among families with special needs children. Mom’s Belief has adapted to the ongoing pandemic situation to offer a revised version of this Home Program and continue to provide the best possible solutions. Through the use of Teletherapy and Online Parental Guidance Programs, our Online Home Program has been a saviour for families all over India who were cut off from the support they required.
During the lockdown period, Mom’s Belief has been able to cater to about 6x more families with their Online Program. We have tried our best to ensure that the quality of our online services is of the best level. Through Teletherapy, we have increased the efficiency and flexibility of therapy sessions, streamlined communications, increased privacy, and most importantly, reach remote patients.
Having realised that the pandemic has been economically depressing for families all over India, Mom’s Belief also started a ‘Pay-As-You-Like Campaign’ which helps us reach over 50,000 families that belong to the lower-income bracket. We are delighted that we have been able to enrol more than 5000 new children and provided them with online counselling via the Home Program at no cost.
7. Do you feel these disorders and mental health problems are still stigmas in society? And treating them through medical assistance is the only option for these children?
Mom’s Belief had to face a huge obstacle since its launch because of enormous lack of information and awareness amongst the general public about what neuro developmental disorders are and how families can work to normalize their lives post the diagnosis. This has, therefore, resulted in a broad array of misconceptions formed around what these disorders are. These are slowly taking the ugly shape of stereotypes and stigmas that do nothing but harm families with one or more members with developmental disorders.
The first step towards a solution would be to spread as much information about the true nature of these disorders and how families need to tackle them. We cannot hope to build a better future for all children without sensitising our society and creating a certain level of social awareness to integrate such families within the community itself.
The most effective, healthy, and holistic method that we suggest any parent is to ensure their special needs child gets proper education, receive an early diagnosis, and subsequently receive the appropriate amount of therapy. It is very much needed for their overall development so that they can live a fruitful life. Constant attention and regular therapy are the steps that can lead parents to see their child live life to his/her fullest and not struggle due to his diagnosis.
8. What is Mom's Belief planning for the future and where all have you marked your presence in bringing a positive change in society?
For our 2020-2021 forecast, we are working towards expanding the number of Integrated Centres from the current 100+ to at least 300+ and increasing the number of Inclusive Schools associated with us. We have already initiated our ‘Pay-As-You-Like Champaign’ to reach out to those struggling with developmental delays and inadequate funds. We wish to reach every child that needs us.
Besides having our strong foothold in the Indian market, we are also providing services currently in 8 other countries. We do have plans to expand even further to 15 countries very soon.
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