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How the Parvarish app by Isha Kanodia aids parents identify a special condition in children

By Anuj Cariappa
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Mumbai, Oct 14: In our country of 1.3 billion, over 27 million or 1 in 50 people have special needs. It is really tough to be a parent of a child with special needs as it is stressful and demands a lot of attention. However, one of the biggest problems plaguing our country is lack of awareness of parents who don't figure out until several years later that their child has a special condition. This causes delayed detection leading to complications and ineffective therapy.

How the Parvarish app by Isha Kanodia aids parents identify a special condition in children

A young and talented 17-year old has recently launched a solution to this yet unknown but severely impacting problem. 'Parvarish' - a mobile app created by Isha Kanodia, a 12th grade IB student at Dhirubhai Ambani International School in Mumbai offers a unique and simple solution. 'Parvarish' aids young parents to detect if their child of upto 36 months has any special needs. There are a few milestones which every child must be able to achieve in every month of growth. This monthly milestone tracker checks the child's progress against defined norms by health authorities. In case of any anomalies, Parvarish advises the parent to seek immediate professional support.

Experts believe that monthly checks by parents are essential to detecting any major or minor disability - physical, mental, emotional or behavioural. According to Dr. Swati Popat Vats, President of Early Childhood Association(ECA) and Association for Primary Education and Research, "Parvarish is a welcome tool, both for counsellors and parents. ECA has received tremendously positive feedback with parents on its relevance and simplicity, and our team is evaluating Parvarish to be recognised as a formal tool across our territories in India".

Vidya Raghu, Managing Trustee at Rama Krishna Sarada Samiti, a NGO providing health, education and vocational training in slums of Mumbai since 1968, has found Parvarish 'simple to use and clear'. According to Ms. Vidya, "Parvarish is a useful app for community social workers and teachers. In Hindi and regional languages, it will reach more parents."

Isha, a Computer Science and Maths student, inspired by the camp she attended at Ummeed Child Development Centre, voluntarily learnt the latest app building technologies and burnt several midnight lamps to build 'Parvarish'. She constantly collaborated with therapists and experts and took inputs from authorities such as www.cdc.gov to build this one of its kind solution. Isha aims to dedicate her computing skills to the cause of the community. Her plan is to release the app in regional languages to drive its usage. She is also working on building predictive models on her app using Machine Learning tools - that will further support community workers and counsellors to work with special children.

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