In this session of Common Ground, we have an exceptional guest, Kreeti Bhatia, on the challenges faced by neurodiverse families and how to support the primary caregivers who are often the mothers. Kreeti is the founder of ‘The Special Mom’, one of the largest parent communities and a safe space for parents with neurodiverse children of all ages to navigate unique challenges they face every day.
Upon asking Kreeti what inspired her to create ‘The Special Mom’, she said that, like most of other entrepreneurs, her driving force has also been her personal experiences, particularly the unpleasant ones that teach you a lot and push you to do something worthwhile.
For Kreeti, her son’s diagnosis was one of those dark experiences that propelled her and pushed her out of her comfort zone to look for ways to help herself as well as other parents in the same boat as her. She further adds that there are still miles to go and so much more to do.
Kreeti describes the journey as funny and unpredictable. She says,
(For) any neurodiverse family, the unpredictability is what actually adds on to the everyday stress that we already have.
Caregivers, especially mothers, need to be in a good state of mind to deal with the unpredictability. That is why, Kreeti and others came together and started doing some feel-good activities. After one year, when the COVID-19 struck, these interactions moved online and became accessible to a wider section of people.
This led to webinars and discussions about the challenges faced by parents like her – ones who haven’t had the time to educate themselves about their child’s situation due to family commitments or other children. The goal of these conversations (webinars) was to break down the bigger topics into smaller pieces of information that parents could take home and implement successfully.
‘The Special Mom’ is the first platform to discuss menstruation in neurodiverse girls, addressing how puberty affects their moods, bodies and overall sexual awareness. We also addressed important aspects related to adolescent neurodiverse boys, like how to teach masturbation to them, as it is an important aspect of life.
Speaking about the role of a senior parent, Kreeti says,
A senior parent and her (their) lived experience can become a survival guide for a junior parent.
The Special Mom also offers a ‘buddy program’ where experienced senior parents offer support and assistance to junior parents. Families can seek help from them whenever needed.
Besides this, they also offer an ‘Autism Masterclass’, where people can take crash courses on a wide variety of topics and engage in enriching conversations with professionals.
When Kreeti started, her sole objective was to help the families and primary caregivers, who are more often the mothers. Later, upon realising how important it is for mothers to see their children’s happiness, she started Samavesh , a platform that aims to provide an opportunity for neurodiverse children to showcase their talent.
When asked about making the world more inclusive, she asks us to take baby steps, have conversations with others in our neighbourhood, find ways to support caregivers, especially mothers, by checking in on them and create more opportunities for neurodiverse children.
“Me-kha-la!” That happens at least once when she introduces herself to new people. She wholeheartedly believes in the quote by Arthur Rubinstein that says – “if you love life, life will love you back”. She is an organizational psychologist and psychometrician. She was a class teacher of 36 adorable girls for two years, grades 2 & 3, as a part of the Teach For India Fellowship. These little girls have a special place in her heart, and when she writes for children, she writes for them!
Arya C is a 4th grader who talks about her transition from the US to India and how BYJU`S has helped her at that. She also loves how BYJU`S has made learning a lot more fun.
Meet Sourabh who has a ton to say about his BYJU`S learning experience. His love for quizzes, games and other fun activities are paying off!
V Shriya is a class eight student who has been using BYJU’S for a year now. She shares her experiences with using the app and how it has helped her in improving her academic performance.