‘We Can Make School A Happier World For Children’
Revathi Srinivasan Director of Singhania Education Service Limited talks about empowering lives through multi-disciplinary therapies and shifting paradigms in education and mental health integration
In an insightful interview with BW Education, Revathi Srinivasan Director of Singhania Education Service Limited delves into the story behind the inception and evolution of Singhania Shaping Therapies. She shares her inspiration, journey and the remarkable impact the therapy centre has had on hundreds of lives. Excerpts edited from the interview.
What inspired the establishment of Singhania Shaping Therapies, and how has its journey evolved since its inception?
As an educator, one observes children very closely. I have always wanted to do something that would help children with special needs. I saw parents anxious and asked them how we could make our school a happier world for children.
We started Singhania Shaping Therapies, located at Singhania School in Thane, as a small centre with two counsellors, one special educator and one clinical psychologist, and grew it to what it is today. The journey has been very satisfying for me, personally as I have truly understood children better. By training all my 300 teachers to understand the needs and difficulties of students better, I have learnt immensely about what it means to be a teacher to children, especially to those with special needs. I am proud to say that this is an inclusive institution, which strives to make a difference to every child that sets foot here.
What do you specialise in? What are the various kinds of therapy that the centre dabbles in?
Singhania Shaping Therapies is a world-class, multi-disciplinary and trans-disciplinary therapy centre. Our therapy interventions are sought by individuals having special needs, mentally or physically. They include those with autism, ADHD (Attention-Deficit-Hyperactivity-Disorder), learning disabilities (dyslexia, dysgraphia, dyscalculia), Down’s syndrome, cerebral palsy, delays in speech, speech articulation issues, stroke, Parkinson’s disease or any major joint or muscular pain.
We specialise in Occupational Therapy, Speech Therapy, Remedial Education, ABA (Applied Behaviour Analysis) and Snoezelen Therapy/MSE (Multi- Sensory Environment) Therapy. We offer expert psychological counselling to those with anxiety, depression, issues with marriage, relationships and sexual orientation along with Psychological Assessment, IQ testing, Learning Disability testing, Social testing, Personality tests and Projective tests.
We cater to a wide demographic spectrum – from infants as young as four months old to teenagers up to 18 years. We also have geriatric clients up to the age of 75. Till date, we have touched the lives of people from 22 countries through our offline and online interventions. Our therapies are so effective that we have parents from six countries, who have stationed themselves in Thane, to take intensive therapy from us for up to six to eight months before re-locating themselves back to their home countries and taking care of their children.
Why do you think India holds potential to be the Therapy Intervention Capital of The World?
I believe that there are four A’s that make India the therapy intervention capital of the world:
A significant chunk of India’s population is young, and with a rapidly increasing population, there are chances of more cases of children with special needs. With growing awareness and need to address these difficulties, comes greater acceptance. From “Why me?” to “Ok, how and where do I seek early help?” happens.
In India, such therapies cost only 1/4th of what it is abroad and with a confirmed periodic cycle of two to three therapies a week. With growing penetration of technology in tier II and III cities and towns, bigger established centres such as the Singhania Shaping Therapies reach out to less privileged families too.
What would you say is the USP of Singhania Shaping Therapies? Could you also tell us a bit about how nature features as one of your therapy touchpoints? How do you incorporate the same in the various kinds of therapies that the Therapy centre offers?
The USP for any successful project is its vision, mission and people. The size, location, infrastructure and the in-house processes, too, help shape up any institution. At Singhania Shaping Therapies, apart from all this, a detailed assessment report with a detailed transaction of therapy is shared with parents/guardians, along with reflections. These meticulous records help both therapists and parents to track the progress of their children/wards. Our centre is multi-disciplinary and trans-disciplinary, with eight intensive therapies under one roof, assisting families to be stationed in one place during the entire therapy process rather than seeking individual therapies at various locations. This has proven to be a key differentiator.
How many individuals (children, adults and senior citizens) have you treated? What has been the response like? How are you making these services accessible to a diverse range of individuals?
Within a span of two years, Singhania Shaping Therapies has administered 27,000 plus therapies – 15 per cent of them are to adults and 5 per cent of them are to senior citizens. The services are accessible and reasonable, making our therapy center for students popular among a wide spectrum of people. Our online therapies are just as effective as the offline ones. Most importantly: We have normalised the concept of therapy, where right from assessment to the termination of therapy is one seamless process under one roof.
What is the strategy behind growing Singhania Shaping Therapies further and normalising the concept of therapy in India? Growth plans in this regard? Could you provide us with some statistics that prove that Indians urgently need to avail the benefits of therapy or at least start speaking about it openly?
The strategy behind growing Singhania Shaping Therapies is to allow this state-of-the-art facility to reach to more individuals and families across the world. To address the challenges of special needs, therapy is the only way out. The major trade point of therapy intervention is time. Losing time due to denial or postponed intervention will make reversal of the process difficult. Therefore, recognised and result-oriented therapy centres such as ours are imperative.
We organise have a special open event every Saturday in school called Soulful Saturdays, where we have counsellors and specialists speak about many topics from mental health issues to behavioural problems. This is a very popular event and each of the sessions have been well attended.
You are also the Principal of Smt. Sulochanadevi Singhania School in Thane, Mumbai. What is your observation regarding the rising need of the education and mental health sector coming together to address the issue of holistic wellness?
I have been closely working with my counsellors and also with the parents and guardians in our institutions. I see a drastic growth in the number of children with autism. In recent years, we have also observed more cases of children with Down's syndrome. It is now a necessity to support students with special needs. With growing awareness, more children are being tested and their difficulties are identified at early stages. However, after interventions begin, parental expectations about academic performances also rise causing higher stress. With nuclear working families, children are getting lonelier .We see more people struggling with mental health issues. Therapy centres, therefore, have become a necessity for the holistic development of the society. At Singhania Shaping Therapies, we consciously work on building a culture of care, empathy and compassion – consequently, well-being is a natural progression.
In the field of therapy and education, staying up-to-date with the latest methodologies and techniques is crucial. How does Singhania Shaping Therapies ensure that its team remains knowledgeable about cutting-edge practices?
Singhania Shaping Therapy promotes a culture of reflection and learning. Our counsellors and teachers are regularly trained and upskilled by highly-experienced professionals and experts from leading hospitals. This helps them stay updated with the latest interventions in their respective fields. We also have weekly exchange of ideas and paper presentations in-house. There is job-shadowing for Grade XII students of psychology, who are interns at the centre, so they understand and experience the nature of work. This also helps them to improve their own skills and prepare them for the future. Online resources are available and special workshops are also conducted regularly. We aim at staying abreast with times so we can provide the best care and support that is critical to those seeking.
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