Ummeed Child Development Center A YEAR IN REVIEW - JANUARY 2018


  • Note from Vibha & Anita
  • IDPAC 2017
  • Anandita's Story
  • Family Meetings
  • Fun Club
  • Renovation of the Clinic
  • The 55 Km Walk for Ummeed 2018

Note from Vibha & Anita

Dear Friend of Ummeed,

2017 felt like a year that needed to end with celebration and an affirmation that 'all's right with the world'. We could not have hoped for a better affirmation than the 2nd International Developmental Pediatric Association Congress, hosted by Ummeed in December 2017. IDPAC 2017 felt like a 'homecoming' for over 500 like-minded professionals who believe that every child with a disability, from a low or high income country, has the right to dream, and make her dreams come true​.

The team at Ummeed bid farewell to the year on a high note, and with a deep sense of gratitude for all that you have made possible for us and the families we serve​. We look to 2018 with passion and commitment to reach more children and fa​m​ilies​. We look forward to working with them as partners in our journey to find ways that make the most meaningful difference​ to their lives.

Warm wishes for the new year, from our family to yours!

​Anita Limaye, Chief Executive Officer

Vibha Krishnamurthy MD, Executive Director

The Ummeed Family

IDPAC 2017

Ummeed was honoured and delighted to co-host the second International Developmental Pediatrics Association Congress (IDPAC) from December 7-10, 2017. Held in Mumbai over four exciting and informative days, the Congress followed the International Day of Persons with Disabilities (December 3). With 'A World of Difference' as its theme, IDPAC explored the continuum of developmental differences in childhood, children at risk and children with disabilities. It also represented IDPA’s strong belief in a trans-disciplinary approach and family-centered care.

The ever so popular photo booth!

Meeting and mingling!

A World Of Difference!

The IDPAC Organizing Committee

The incredible conference brought together over 500 professionals, such as pediatricians, neurologists, psychiatrists, therapists, psychologists, special educators, and community and health workers from 33 countries across the globe. Several international organizations such as WHO, UNICEF, Autism Speaks, The Society for Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics (SDBP) and the Indian Academy of Pediatrics (IAP) were represented.

Nine pre-conference workshops, on topics ranging from early childhood development, autism, ADHD, sexuality in children with special needs to children in crises were facilitated by international experts and allowed participants to develop practical skills and hands-on learning.

The keynote addresses by renowned speakers including Ummeed's very own Dr Vibha Krishnamurthy, Dr Scott Wright, Dr Ilgi Ertem and Jo Chopra were an amalgamation of cutting edge scientific research and emotional stories along with values and ideas from years of practice.

Two teenaged self advocates - Anandita Kumar who has cerebral palsy and Advait Prasad who has ADHD - shared their inspiring and incredible journeys reinforcing our commitment to working in partnership with children with disabilities and their families.

Advait Prasad, our brave teenage self advocate from Mumbai, India on growing up different touched the audience with his sense of humour and honesty.

Across the three days of the main conference, oral and poster presentation sessions were organized for professionals to showcase their research and experience in working with families with a focus on child development and disabilities in LMICs. A total of 113 oral presentations and 144 posters were presented, generating a rich learning environment and thought-provoking discussions.

The book club by Dr Scott Wright was packed to the hilt and received a spectacular response and re-emphasized the value of empathy and the power of perspective, once again reinforcing the idea of working with families of children with disabilities.

To ensure that the wonderful sharing of ideas and knowledge continues beyond the Congress, IDPA Committees were formed to promote Developmental Behavioral Pediatrics training, research and service delivery in LMICs.

Participating in the Congress was a very fulfilling experience and provided an excellent opportunity to network and learn from each other and a chance to explore ideas. The next IDPA Congress will be held in Brazil in 2019!

To learn more about IDPA visit www.developmentalpediatrics.org

Anandita's Story

Meet Anandita Kumar, our Ummeed hero and 16-year-old self advocate who held centre stage at IDPAC 2017. Always a winner in our eyes, she shares how her 'Can Do' attitude has helped her overcome many hurdles.

People want to put all children with Cerebral Palsy in one box. Each child with Cerebral Palsy is different.

My name is Anandita. I am 16 years old, I am in the 10th standard at Vidya Jyoti School in Pune. I am a drummer, I love Bollywood music and dance.

I was not born with Cerebral Palsy (CP), I acquired it after I was born because I had a congenital heart defect and I was on life support for many months.

I began therapy when I was five months old. My parents talk about my strong will. I did not give up. That is something I have continued with over the years, pushing myself and achieving goals when not everyone believed that I could. In fact, my therapist gifted me a red T- shirt that reads, “Can Do” and that’s how I manage myself - always believing that I Can Do.

This belief that I Can Do has been very useful especially at school. I began school at five by attending the Early Intervention Center (EIC) at Ummeed. I was not walking then or speaking clearly. After this my parents homeschooled me.

When we moved to Pune, I joined a mainstream school. In the early years - from kindergarten up to the 4th standard - I managed. The school was supportive. I made friends. But as I moved up grades, the pressure of studies and the syllabus was too much. I found it difficult to cope and was very anxious. I moved to the resource room and studied at my own pace. This was better but I was still struggling to fit in academically.

In the 7th standard, I moved to Vidya Jyoti, a special school. My mother felt open schooling would be less stressful for me. Here, there are other children like me with learning challenges. I see myself as a normal child studying with other children who have difficulties like mine or more severe than mine. It has been important for me to fit in. I didn’t want to be different or made to feel I was different.

I started doing very well - both in my studies and with my confidence. I was surprised when I was elected head girl of my school this year. I also played a leading role in our school play as the Narrator for our Annual Day.

My Can Do spirit helps in other ways as well. A few years ago, I played at my first drum concert and my teacher told me I had an emotional connect with music. Recently I stayed all alone with my 90-year-old Nana when my parents had to travel and I had to manage my home and I did! It made me feel independent.

For me when I say I cannot do something and I am told I can do it then I feel that I am NOT understood. Because if I could do it, I would have. Sometimes when I would watch children play football, I too wanted to join in but they would say that I wouldn’t be able to play. I felt that I could have always tried and that I should be the one to decide.

People want to put all children with CP in one box. Each child with CP is different. My anxiety over my condition is something that others cannot understand. I like to have things in order and under control. This is how it is for me, it may not be for someone else with CP.

I love details and organizing events makes me happy. I do not know what I want to do eventually but I do know I love being around food and being with people!

Family Meetings

Putting the families’ needs first, considering them as equal partners in decision making about their child, in other words being family centered, though universally considered a best practice, is still an exception rather than the norm. Ummeed considers Family Centered Care as its core philosophy for providing services and has taken several steps to ensure that it walks the talk. Asking families what they like about our services but more importantly what should change has been the most important one. A six-month study was conducted in which more than 150 families offered feedback on Ummeed’s services.

Families appreciated the support and respect that Ummeed’s professionals extended through their work. They asked for opportunities to connect with other families to share information and wanted quicker access to services. Ummeed is remodeling its services based on this feedback.

A monthly walk-in support group for parents - a first-of-its-kind initiative in Mumbai, has been started based on feedback from the families. Sixty parents from all over the city participated in an engaging discussion on planning for their child’s future. This discussion was co-facilitated by Ummeed and parents from a not-for-profit organization called Adult Support Kendra.

Involving parents in designing services will not be a one-off exercise at Ummeed. A Family Advisory Council will soon be setup to get regular inputs on Ummeed’s clinical and training services

If you wish to join our family group meetings and receive updates contact candice.menezes@ummeed.org

Fun Club

The aptly-called 'Fun Club' hosted by the Mental Health Team at Ummeed is a space where children gather to have fun whilst working together in groups. Held on a monthly basis and with additional Summer and Winter Clubs, the hope is that children make connections that could continue over time by writing letters and by meeting each other outside of Ummeed. The children work in teams while developing skills like coordination, listening, communication, cooperation, decision-making and execution. The skills that each child brings to the group has an automatic audience in the form of the other participants, making them more visible and available. All of this is done while creating art, baking and playing games amidst laughter, creativity, fun and spontaneity.

To learn more and become a part of the Ummeed Fun Club contact yashna.iyer@ummeed.org or pravin.madur@ummeed.org.

Renovation Project

​Our clinical facility is undergoing a transformation to better serve our children and families, and to accommodate our growing numbers. We have been in the same premises since 2006, with a few ad hoc repairs over the years, however the need for a well-planned renovation project was identified and initiated.

Our heartfelt thanks to APL Limited and Bajaj Finance Limited for supporting us with the Ummeed renovation project.

On completion of the project we will have increased seating capacity for our staff, disability friendly features, and a warm and welcoming waiting area for children and their families.

Parents or caregivers will have access to information on special programs and events, there will be play zones for children with engaging toys and books, art and photo displays, which we hope will convey the feeling of a safe and happy space for all!

The showstopper of the project is the long corridor wall which has been painted by Art for Akanksha, and the Ummeed staff in collaboration with the YPO Mumbai chapter. The wall has been painted mainly using fingers to create a vivid nature montage, with an imperial yellow sun, candy hued trees and mountains, rolling waves of every shade of blue with neon fish, making it impossible to walk past it without stopping to stare.

Our sincere thanks to YPO and Art for Akanksha for breathing art into our space!

Staff Room

Our showstopper wall!

A child adding finishing touches!

A YPO Mumbai Chapter and Art for Akanksha event

To visit our clinic contact info@ummeed.org

The 55 Km Walk for Ummeed 2018

Each year a group of people from diverse locations, professions, ages and interests converge on a weekend in January in Goa to support Ummeed’s work with children and families.

The 55 Km Walk for Ummeed in Goa, started in 2012 with just three walking enthusiasts, has grown over the years and attracts between 80-100 participants. The 2018 walk took place on January 13, with a new energy, with four young walkers under the age of 10, all actively walking and fundraising for Ummeed!

Our young walkers!

The young ones walked upto 20 kms, inspiring each other and the others to keep walking! Each and every walker had a unique experience and shared feedback on the seamless organization of the event by the Ummeed team.

The next walk will be held on January 12, 2019. For registration & enquiries email 55kmwalkforummeed@ummeed.org

Thank you!

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