• Mr. Nobody

    Author: Mahera Kantawalla |

    The one thing I have treasured the most at Sethu is the multidisciplinary teamwork approach while treating any child. Every Friday, the team meets in the afternoon to discuss and give updates about projects or training programs they are involved in, along with sharing of their experience and professional expertise while working with children. During one such weekly team meeting, our psychologist Aileen Desouza shared how the principles of ‘Narrative Therapy’ could be used within sessions to help children identify their difficulties, by externalizing conversations about the problem. This method helps to separate the problem from the child, because of which…

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  • Life as an Administrator at Sethu - What I've Seen and Learned

    Author: Laxmi Pillai |

    Around 3 years ago, I joined Sethu as an Administrator, eager to contribute my bit to children and society. I chose Sethu as I was convinced about its holistic approach of engagement with the child, family, school and community. Over the years, I have seen Sethu grow and I have grown along with it. My role is to ensure that the Centre runs smoothly and every child who comes to us is assured of an excellent service. My daily work also includes clinical data entry, which enabled me to closely understand different aspect of problems that are faced by the…

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  • Parent's Perspective on Childhood Body Science

    Author: Anjali Nunes |

    Today I write as a parent as opposed to a professional. Being a mother of a 6 year old provided me with the opportunity to attend a workshop on ‘Childhood Sexuality’ at her school. I was joined by 28 other parents who also wanted to learn how to handle unexpected and sometimes awkward questions from their children. The workshop was conducted by the effervescent Dr. Nandita de Souza - Director of Sethu Centre where I work as a Speech and Language Therapist. While I have never sat in on any of her lectures on this topic, I still considered myself…

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  • Wonder Struck

    Author: Aileen De Souza |

    Recently I had the opportunity of working with a young boy experiencing anger and conflict within the family. The first conversation I initially had with his parents was about how angry, defiant and distracted he was. In a subsequent conversation with the family I used something known as 'The Wonderfulness Interview'. This a part of Narrative Practice and looks at exploring and using people’s strengths to deal with issues at hand. During the 'wonderfulness conversation' a previously overcast mood turned to smiles and sunshine! There were gaping mouths and nudges between parent and son that opened a whole new and brighter…

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  • Not Available

    Author: Andre Velho |

    Typically developing children ask for things they want – like snacks, TV time, going out to play etc. But their parents often say “Later”, “There are no more chocolates”, “I’m watching cricket right now, go play with your sister” and so on. They may have asked nicely, but they cannot have what they are asking for right now. Accepting a situation like that can be very difficult for a child with autism. They do not have the necessary understanding and awareness to accept the fact that they cannot get what they may be asking for. In situations like these, picture cues…

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  • Take 5

    Author: Shenessa Barretto |

    Recently Yogesh, a very intelligent 16 year old came to me for a learning assessment. He loves photography and pondering about life. However, Yogesh has a limited attention span and dislikes writing. I was concerned that the 3-session assessment would be a challenge for me since the tests I conduct involve listening to instructions carefully, problem solving and writing. This can get tedious for someone who has trouble focusing on tasks. My first session with Yogesh was spent listening to his constant complaining about how boring the tasks were! He frequently questioned me about the necessity of doing them. My spirits…

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  • Handwriting Without Tears

    Author: Madhura Manerikar |

    I met 5 year old Tina with her parents at the Sethu Centre. She came to me with her difficulties in her academics. Tina could write some alphabets only by rote. A-B-C-D etc. She could not recognize alphabets nor could she write random alphabets when I dictated to her. Using ‘Handwriting without Tears’ and ‘Wet-Dry-Try method’ I taught Tina’s mother how to teach her to recognize and write alphabets in random order. Handwriting-Without-Tears uses wooden pieces to help children form letters before learning how to write them. Wet-Dry-Try also helps children form alphabets on a slate by first using a ‘wet’ sponge…

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  • Slap The Bully!

    Author: Kimberly Dias |

    When 8-year-old Jack walked in, there was something special he brought along with him. I couldn't figure out if it was his cheerful smile or his simplicity. Either way, it was delightful meeting him. He also carried with him some hurt and sad feelings that arose from being bullied and teased at school. It had been 2 years since he enrolled in his new school. He had one best friend, several other friends and one master bully. This bully troubled most of the children in his class and enjoyed it thoroughly. The teasing made Jack open his mind to anger…

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  • The Light at the End of the Tunnel

    Author: Gouri Salvi |

    When I first met 7 year old Kriti, she would only speak to me in whispers and would hardly look at me when we spoke. She build this giant cocoon around her and everyone seemed to be a gigantic threat to her fragile sense of self. I met Kriti’s parents before her assessments and they informed me of their previous marital difficulties which they managed worked on and things now were going well. They had observed however, that it was since that time, Kriti became withdrawn, did not make close friends in school or outside, became increasingly diffident , inhibited and…

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  • Tiny Drops Make a Mighty Ocean

    Author: Anjali Nunes |

      3 year old little Arjun came in for his speech therapy session as usual… or so I thought.The usually calm little boy that Arjun is, entered the session quite the opposite that day.  I also had the company of an intern sitting with me and observing my session.  Arjun was cranky and visibly upset because of an event that transpired earlier. This adorable little boy, who has autism was not happy at all. I did my best to calm him down, offering him a choice of activities, using a iPad to help his communication, following his agenda etc. All attempts to engage…

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  • World Down Syndrome Day

    Author: Andre Velho |

    Every year between 23,000 and 29,000 children are born in India with Down syndrome, which is the highest in the world. With recent advancements in clinical treatment as many as 80% of people with Down syndrome reach age 60, and many live even longer! World Down Syndrome Day (WDSD) observed on 21st March every year, is a global awareness day which has been officially observed by the United Nations since 2012. The date for WDSD being the 21st day of the 3rd month was selected to signify the uniqueness of the triplication (trisomy) of the 21st chromosome which causes Down syndrome. Individuals…

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  • Gaurav's Journey

    Author: Andre Velho |

    Where Gaurav Started When Gaurav first started Autism Intervention Services at Sethu in the start of 2016, he had just been diagnosed with autism. He was only 3 and hadn’t yet received any intervention or therapy as yet. His parents were desperate to help him get better. He spoke a few words like ‘paani’ ‘chocky’ (chocolate) ‘gaadi’, one word at a time and only with his parents. He clung to them all the time and did not trust anybody and so he never played with other children. He was happiest on his own, with his cars and trains. He refused to participate in any activities…

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  • Openness & Honesty

    Author: Silvia Mascarenhas |

    I recently met 6 year old Jai (name changed) with his parents at the Sethu Centre. Jai was born in the UK. He lives and studies there but was visiting Goa on a holiday. During his assessment, his parents told me that he had been diagnosed with a ‘global developmental delay’ and had received speech and language therapy in the UK. They were concerned, however, that he was not talking in sentences yet and showed minimal interest in playing with other children of his age. They wanted advice on how they could help Jai improve. When assessing Jai, I observed that…

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  • Visual Wonder

    Author: Aileen De Souza |

    Post Its, To Do Lists mobile phone reminders, desk calendars, hoardings- visuals play a large role in our lives. At Sethu we see a large number of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), I realized the efficacy of visuals with children with Autism during a session with 14 year old LJ. LJ was diagnosed with ASD and had developed a lot of behavioural issues such as anger outbursts, difficulty with change and defiance. As it was the first time with me and a new place for LJ to be in, compliance wasn’t something I was expecting during our session. A simple…

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  • The Power of Parents and Play

    Author: Patricia Lopes |

    MG is a 4 year old little boy who was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) at the age of 1 year 11 months. MG is attending weekly autism intervention sessions with me and his parents are focused on helping their little boy improve. I have to make mention about MG’s parents who have willingly agreed to let us share this video of him. His father has adjusted his work timings to ensure that M doesn’t miss a session. I sometimes can’t recall the little boy who would only sit on the floor and fling things that were placed on the shelves.…

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  • The Sethu Centre: A home away from home

    Author: Laxmi Pillai |

    With the ever-increasing demand for Sethu’s services by large numbers of children with special needs and their families seeking help, it has become inescapable that Sethu needs ample space of its own to grow its work. As I near the end of my first year as the administrator at Sethu,it is both heartening, as well as worrying to see the swelling number of referrals, with children coming from all parts of Goa and beyond. It gladdens me to know that one child at a time we are able to change the futures for vulnerable children by fostering hope. In order to…

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  • When you wish upon a star

    Author: Andre Velho |

    Christmas came early for Sethu this year! Last week, we were delighted to receive The Star Program in the post!!! This is a comprehensive behavioural program designed for students with autism, a curriculum that we have been trying to purchase for many months but were unable to put together adequate funding to do so. With a price tag of over $1000 including shipping from the USA, we were forced to put the purchase on hold and practise Delayed Gratification. However, Sethu's Fairy God-Family - the Carvalhos - made our wishes come true. We are eternally grateful to them for their relentless support…

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  • All the way from Finland

    Author: Sethu Volunteer |

    In Finland, we take a lot for granted. All our children have free education and there are free social services for all citizens. Also my time in India, before joining in Sethu, was very ambivalent. Every day I would witness so many beautiful and ugly things at the same time. Sometimes people treating each other well, while other times it would be difficult to see respect between people. My time at Sethu changed a lot my way of thinking and offered me a different kind of experience. The reason was: people - that believed in their own work, that believed in…

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  • Angry Brahma Rakshash

    Author: Kimberly Dias |

    It was a difficult moment to watch Azhar’s mum cry in extreme desperation. She felt bad for him as he would often get scolded at and picked on at school but at the same time, she began to fear his anger, as he would repeatedly stare with vengeance. Azhar would often come to hit her or just scream really loudly when the anger came and would take a while to cool down. When I met Azhar, the little 8 year-old boy, he had the sweetest smile with big, bright eyes. We had a wonderful conversation about school and home and he…

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  • The Joys Of Play

    Author: Andre Velho |

    A major achievement in my professional career this year was the completion of the Autism Intervention Training Program conducted byUmmeed Child Development Center, Mumbai. Through this course, I met and have been in touch with the ever-dedicated and talented Ummeed Autism Team. Recently, Gopika Kapoor, a Senior Autism Intervention Therapist at Ummeed and author of the best-selling book 'Spiritual Parenting' visited Sethu Centre while on holiday in Goa. I seized the opportunity and requested her to share a fraction of her 6 years of wisdom and experience with some of our parents from all over the State. She eagerly agreed to…

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