Mom’s Belief empowers parents with teaching tools and training so that they can provide effective guided therapy to their special needs child at home.
The facts are startling. Close to 15 million individuals in India are diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder/ social communication disorder. Nearly 35 million children in India have dyslexia, a common learning disorder. Down syndrome occurs in one in every 830 live births in the country. At least 11% of India’s primary school children have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. The harsh truth is there aren’t enough trained professionals and facilities available for special needs children. Schools are not sufficiently equipped to address special needs. Parents and caregivers aren’t enabled to support the special needs children in their care. However, a first-of-its-kind startup called Mom’s Belief is trying to make a difference in the lives of people with special needs children. The startup was launched in 2015 to support parents of special needs children and their care-givers to enable and empower them.
“So far, we have been able to touch 1,000 families across India and five international locations, which is five times more than we had planned to serve,” says Nitin Bindlish, founder and CEO, Mom’s Belief. The Mom’s Belief home programme empowers parents to support their special needs child in the absence of accessible and affordable services, operating from its base outside Delhi. A dedicated, masters-level child psychologist is assigned to each family. Psychologists connect with parents using video conferencing, phone, email, and instant messaging. Guided by a team with expertise in child psychology, pediatric neurology, occupational/speech therapy and special education, the psychologist helps parents to identify goals and create monthly individualised education plans. Teaching tools are delivered to the home every month.
As support is provided remotely, Mom’s Belief works only with children who have a diagnosis. It uses the child’s medical history and a skill and development assessment to create a neurodevelopmental profile, which guides the creation of IEPs and acts as the baseline against which progress is measured. The programme is offered on a subscription basis. “Technology is at the core of all our activities, and we use it to support parents and professionals. For instance, we are developing tools that will help parents understand their child’s likely growth trajectory and map out plans for the future,” says Bindlish. “Digital platforms connect us with parents and professionals who care for special needs children. They also help us reach families in more remote areas. Parents can use Skype to virtually bring their dedicated child psychologist into their home.”
Initial funding for the startup came from personal investment, and friends and family. “We have drawn the attention of investors from all over the world who are impressed with our empowerment model, which is scalable, effective and affordable,” says Bindlish. “When you empower a mother with professional guidance and resources, she can help her child overcome the challenges of a developmental disorder and fulfill his or her potential. Therefore, we want to empower parents to act as “co-therapist” for their child at home and empower professionals to provide more integrated solutions at therapy centers, schools, and hospitals,” he informs.
Mom’s Belief addresses disorders such as autism spectrum disorder, ADHD, learning disabilities, intellectual disability, Down syndrome, global developmental delay, and mental health issues. “We complement our home-based programme with support for schools and therapy centres to create an ecosystem of support. This also helps to build awareness and acceptance, particularly in schools,” he adds. According to him, after three years in the R&D phase the company launched its programmes early this year and have touched the lives of 1,000+ families so far. Mom’s Belief wants to touch 10,000-plus families in the coming years in multiple countries.