Just like you, I too am a family member and parent whose child has disabilities. I understand and appreciate the challenges, tests and trials that each of you have been grappling with over the years. But I also believe that with the right professional support, and by adopting a positive attitude, any and every one of us is capable of helping their child progress. This certitude that I possess comes from personal experience - from my journey with my son and his disabilities.
In 2001, when Yuvraj was barely two years old, he was diagnosed with epilepsy, cerebral palsy, global delays and mental retardation. Our family was devastated, but we refused to give up and quickly resolved to try and do all that is possible, even if it meant making only an iota of a difference to our son’s life. Having heard about modern-day therapies and the hope that it holds, we decided to move to the U.S. to provide our son with expert therapeutic intervention. During this time, we were fortunate to have met and worked with a team of dedicated and caring experts that helped change our son’s life. Seeing his dramatic progress over nine years, our team of therapists believed that moving Yuvraj back to India and reuniting him with his extended family would provide him with an ideal platform for continuous and intensive human interaction which would help tremendously in developing his emotional and social skills.
As we returned to India in 2009, I was aware of the fact that there was much room for improvement in the field of special education and related services in our country. However, after visiting some of the most well-known special education establishments in Mumbai, I was disappointed to learn that the gap between the services available here and the establishments we had worked with in the U.S., in terms of the quality of expertise, infrastructure and attitudes, was just so huge! This is when we felt that there was a desperate need for change in the special education and related services field in India, and this need inspired our family to take up the responsibility of establishing “The Gateway School of Mumbai”. My in-laws - Yuvraj’s doting grandparents - continuing with their invaluable contribution and support have now set up the Keshavlal V. Bodani Education Foundation, to reach out to and help scores of other afflicted children in need, to try and provide them with the same quality special education and therapeutic services in Mumbai, that their grandson Yuvraj was so fortunate to receive in the U.S..
The Gateway Schools, New York, have established themselves as one of the most respected special needs schools in the U.S. – having affected the lives of hundreds of students and their families over the past 47 years. At Gateway, teaching begins with observation. Focus is always placed on a child’s strengths, and individualized educational plans are approached from the point of view of what a child can do rather than what they can’t do. Learning programs are used in a way that fit tasks to the strengths, weaknesses and needs of the child rather than trying to fit the child to the task itself. Furthermore, Gateway has successfully created an environment characterized by trust and respect – one that reflects great faith in each child’s capabilities. Matched by an equally productive infrastructure, the school’s overall environment is one that is highly conducive to students’ learning and development. All these considerations, combined with the fact that the school’s educational ideals, mission and vision align so clearly with ours, makes the Gateway Schools, New York, a perfect collaborator for our project in Mumbai.
In an attempt to provide greater access and quality in educational and rehabilitation services to children with disabilities in Mumbai, the Keshavlal V. Bodani Education Foundation has undertaken the responsibility of establishing institutions dedicated to these purposes - starting with a school for students with learning disabilities in the city. In order to ensure that this school meets the best international standards, the Foundation has obtained an exclusive license to establish and operate the institution based on the unique and renowned educational model of The Gateway Schools of New York (USA).