Subhasree G Mohan | Inclusive Education | Advancing the Field of Psychology for Special Needs Children
We interviewed Subhasree G Mohan, a clinical Psychologist and the founder of Young Intellects. After years of working with children with special needs she realised that there was an essential necessity that was not being considered with the conventional teaching and Psychological approach to children who are considered different. Read how this insightful young woman is creating a unison between the "kids with special needs' and the subjectively 'normal" kids.
Name: Subhasree G Mohan
Industry: Psychology & Education
Business Name: Young Intellects
Favorite Quote to live by:
Strength Lies in Differences, Not In Similarities – Stephen R Covey
1. Please give us a bit of background on who you are and what you do? (what is your backstory/your business)
I am a Clinical Psychologist and the Founder of Young Intellects. After having practiced as a therapist for about 4 years, I was not convinced with what I was doing. That is when I realized that we needed a holistic approach to therapy and education. An hour of therapy session for a child with special needs is just half the problem solved, but making the child and the parent feel included in the society, gives a wholesome advancement to the field of education and psychology.
I started Young Intellects to bring a unison between the "kids with special needs' and the subjectively 'normal" kids. Though there has been many advancements in the field of education and psychology, there is still a lack of inclusive education in our society. Young intellects is the only inclusive after- school started in the Bay Area, California, about 4 years ago and we have come a long way. My goal lies in bringing an inclusive approach to education by collaborating the kids with special needs with their peers who have no disabilities, and the program is designed in a way that all kids work together, by forgetting their differences by appreciating each other in the process.
I am a strong believer that Inclusive education promotes an empathetic, and a well- rounded society.
I started Young Intellects with an idea to let the kids express their emotions and feelings by being a part of a larger group. There is no one size fits all theory- each issue is different and they need different means to address it.
2. When & how did your big shift take place?
Children are the driving force of my profession as I believe that every child is born with a purpose and the ability to give to the society in one way of the other. It's just inevitable that some children may have more needs than others.
Psychology was something that fascinated me as a child and that fascination led me to where I am today. However, I strongly felt that it is not enough to be just a therapist in the society, where children with special needs are mostly isolated.
About 4 years ago, I worked with a child having mild autistic disorder. Though he progressed well in his sessions with me, he had difficulty connecting with her peers in general. That is when it struck to me that education system in designed in an insensitive fashion.
I wanted to bring awareness on inclusive education and followed the principal of "one coherent system". Through Young Intellects, I wanted to change the reaction to term "special needs" and also bring out a conscious effort in the society that "special needs" is simply a way to explain that a child has extraordinary needs.
Outside work and home, I run a social group called "Samyata" where we work on the various issues that parents and children with special needs face (like, isolation, lack of empathy & support). This helps us in working on their target needs.
3. What are three business & life lessons you have learned throughout your journey?
As I continue to learn and grow along the way, I picked up a few business & life lessons that I now apply to every new venture or project I am involved with!
It’s not always about you and your ideas (Take time to focus on the things you are best at and give people the freedom to do the same. There are people who are smarter than you.)
Learn to celebrate every small win to boost your morale and provide a surge of energy.
…..and finally, “Just go for it!”
4. What is the biggest risk you ever took professionally and/or the biggest obstacle you have overcome?
The biggest risk I have come across professionally is trying to amalgamate therapy with education. The obstacle that stood in the way for so long, was bringing awareness about inclusive education.
Young Intellects started off very slowly and it took us 2 years to involve the society in this beautiful inclusion. Overtime, we have coped admirably and I must say that the kids beautifully accept each other's differences and difficulties and enjoy every bit of it.
An educational institution reflects the society at large and it’s time to focus on a well- rounded society. I believe that all children are not the same, but they should have the same opportunities.
It's time we have a real party to celebrate the differences that make our world a better "special place" and ensure that all children feel special, no matter what their needs are!
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