PlayStreet: Empowering Parents to Understand their Child with Autism, Accept their Differences & Believe in them

Mini Dwivedi Gopinathan, Founder & Director, Shereen Idiculla, Director - Clinical Services

Mini Dwivedi Gopinathan, Founder & Director

Shereen Idiculla, Director - Clinical Services

Mini Dwivedi Gopinathan (Founder & Director) and Suresh Babu Gopinathan started PlayStreet in 2012; a few years after their child was diagnosed with Autism. After taking him for many therapies, the couple fathomed that while existing solutions were focused on skill development, importance needs to be given to the emotional development of the child too; meanwhile all the therapists were also at various locations and not working in sync with each other for a child. Thus, PlayStreet was born, to empower parents and to help them understand their child with autism with a new perspective. A year later, Shereen Idiculla (Director - Clinical Services), a pioneer in introducing a specialized speech therapy technique called 'Oral Placement therapy by TalkTools' in India joined the team.

PlayStreet enables children to find
enjoyment in interacting with others and connect with them before they even begin to learn. It not only provides integrated schooling programs (NAUTI: early interaction & communication),(CATERPILLAR: play & early skills development) and (BUTTERFLY: readiness for group instructions, academic & social skills), and AFTERSCHOOL sessions to support children attending mainstream school, but also bestows other therapies (Oral Placement, Speech & Language, Occupational & Sensory Integration, Play and Social skills and many more) under one roof. These programs are created based on the child’s holistic development and concentrates on the child’s emotional connect to build his intrinsic motivation to build skills.

"The programs are created based on the child’s holistic development and concentrates on the child’s emotional connect to build his intrinsic motivation to build skills"

Unique Interventions
PlayStreet empowers parents to understand their child and their learning style. It conducts various structured training sessions (via classroom trainings, blogs, free camps, and webinars and Facebook live events /groups) with a vision of ‘Accept. Understand. Play. Believe’, which help parents to connect with their child’s root difficulties, accept their differences and work towards overcoming the difficulties. The biggest difference
PlayStreet has made to each family is helping them to believe in their child.

PlayStreet helped create a software solution called ‘Goal Track’( to track & monitor children’s progress so that parents, teachers & therapist work on the common goals. They have co-developed an alternative and augmentative solution 'PlayTalk', which provides a structured program that helps the children to develop their intent to communicate and sharing their thoughts and experiences, thus enabling their language development. Alongside, PlayStreet’s employees continuously improve their knowledge through sponsored trainings. Very recently on their sixth anniversary, PlayStreet launched the online store to sell the hand crafted products by staff and children.

Away Ahead
The organization aims to take autism treatment to economically weaker section of the society and build sustainable vocational & educational programs to help adolescents with Autism. “We are working towards a program for teenagers with autism which would aid them to lead a fairly independent life,” concludes Mini, who is recipient of the Women Icons Award in 2017 by BERG Singapore for excellence and innovation in the field of Special Education.