Resource Persons

Aditi Agrawal



Aditi Agrawal is the co-founder of Studio Gudgudee, a design firm that specialises in creating innovative playspaces for children of all abilities. Gudgudee’s approach is to make play spaces sensory by integrating the magic of sound, smell, touch and visuals so that even if a child is limited in one sense, they can play using the other. Aditi has also been on the Forbes India 30 under 30 list for 2019 in the design category. Gudgudee in collaboration with National Institute of Urban Affairs (NIUA) and Bernard Van Leer Foundation (BvLF) recently unveiled a playground design toolkit ‘Creating accessible parks and play spaces – a how to guide for Indian cities’ to help smart cities think of playgrounds beyond the swings and slides. Their vision is to make inclusive playgrounds a mainstream idea.


Certified trainer

Play for Peace

Agyatmitra has done his Masters in Communication in 1997 from Pune University and BE Mechanical from NIT Durgapur in 1991. Agyatmitra is a Experiential Educator facilitating program for organization on a range of topics including team building, leadership, campus to corporate, understanding conflict, cultural diversity and ownership. Agyatmitra is an experiential educator working in this field for 20 years. He is a Play for Peace enthusiast sharing Play for Peace process with organizations in India working to ensure child right and inclusive education for marginalized communities by conducting training for them.He has been the Lead Representative of Play for Peace in India for 6 years till 2008 and has also worked in Israel for 8 months as volunteer of Jerusalem International YMCA . He has done training for Peace Building and Conflict Transformation and Peace Education as member of an International Network ASPBAE.

Ankur Madan

Associate Professor,

Department of Education,

Azim Premji University


Dr. Ankur Madan completed her Ph.D from Delhi University and is currently an Associate Professor at Azim Premji University at the Department of Education. She has previously taught at Delhi University, Christ deemed to be University and American Kuwait University. Her areas of expertise include developmental psychology, developmental psychopathology, pedagogy and education and qualitative research. She has facilitated training program for senior faculty members along with student mentoring programs and has been a resource person for workshops on adolescence creativity learning. Dr. Madan has done extensive research in the areas of inclusive education, Disability studies, developing models for effective implementation of inclusive education. She has guest edited the Social Science journal Artha at Christ University and co-edited book chapters. Currently she contributes to a weekly column for The New Indian Express addressing students on areas related to life skills, school learning and adolescence.

Aparna Athreya


The Story Triangle



Kid and Parent Foundation

Aparna Athreya is an award-winning storyteller, educator, children’s author and a life coach. She is a TEDx speaker on Storytelling and Multiple Intelligence. Her organization collaborates with the Bangalore University (ECEA department in VHD Institute of Home Science) in the field Socio-emotional development for the early years. Her background in science and technology has made her work extensively in using storytelling in STEM education. She has authored 2 Mathematics stories that are published by a national publisher. She is a Master trainer and a faculty member at Teacher training schools Macmillan Publications, Institute of Early Childhood Education and Administration, Bright Kids, Hello Kids where she conducts workshops in education. She has also been associated as a parent coach with organizations such as HSBC, Canara Bank, Vidya Sagar Schools and Podar Jumbo Network.

Arlene Manoharan

Independent Child Protection Specialist

Arlene Manoharan is a national expert and trainer in child rights, with specialisation in child protection & juvenile justice. Since her graduation from TISS (1990), she worked with NGOs dealing with children in street situations and subsequently joined the Centre for Child and the Law, National Law School of India University, (CCL-NLSIU). She has served as a member of various committees at State & National level, and published extensively. She currently works as an independent child protection specialist.

Aruna Jyothi V.


Azim Premji University


Ms. Aruna has years of experience in teaching across different age groups and has worked with mixed age group classes (vertical grouping/ MGML). She has also worked as a school counselor for a few years and has actively worked with adolescence related issues. She has worked with Internation schools and taught language, Psychology and a course titled Theory of Knowledge (of the International Baccalaureate curriculum) and coordinated the CAS (Creativity, Action and Service) program from the IB curriculum. She was the Head of Department of Counselling and Special Needs at Indus International School, Hyderabad and has set up an activity center for slow learner. Ms. Aruna has also developed a policy for children with special needs for the school.

Bindiya Shajith


MITR of the Child


Dr. Bindiya Shajith, is a school (child and adolescent) psychologist primarily working with childhood disorders, disabilities and inclusion. She consults for schools to facilitate inclusion and also works with families and children affected by disabilities. She trains and supervises special educators and is also a member of the Child Welfare Committee, Bangalore Urban District.

Candace Mulcahy

Associate Professor

Special Education and Department Chair, Teaching, Learning and Educational Leadership

Binghamton University, USA

Candace A. Mulcahy, PhD, is an associate professor of special education and department chair at Binghamton University, State University of New York. Her research interests include education policies and practices for children and adolescents with learning and behavioral concerns. She is also interested in teacher preparation and delivery of effective reading and mathematics instruction for youth with disabilities across settings. She has conducted a number single-subject, quasi-experimental, and qualitative studies of mathematics and reading in a variety of integrated and segregated settings. She has coordinated and implemented professional development in public schools, alternative education, and juvenile corrections. Dr. Mulcahy has consulted with state and local agencies on the provision of appropriate education services to at-risk and incarcerated youth. With colleagues, she has conducted systems-level assessments of mathematics and reading performance of incarcerated students, nearly half of whom were identified with a disability.

Carmel Proctor


Positive Psychology Research Centre (PPRC), Guernsey,Channel Islands

Dr Carmel Proctor is director of the Positive Psychology Research Centre (PPRC). Carmel was awarded her PhD from the School of Psychology, University of Leicester. Carmel also holds an MA in Measurement, Evaluation, and Research Methodology from the University of British Columbia, Canada, an MSc in Psychology and Psychotherapy from the Existential Academy, London, and a BA in Psychology from Simon Fraser University, Canada. Carmel has written, co-written, and edited papers, book chapters, and books and is on the editorial board of international journal Social Indicators Research and the Encyclopedia of Quality of Life and Well-Being Research and the Encyclopedia of Personality and Individual Differences. Carmel is a Chartered Psychologist with the British Psychological Society and co-author of Strengths Gym (PPRC, 2016) a character strengths-based educational course with proven positive impact on child life satisfaction. Carmel is also an accredited psychotherapist with the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) and registered member of the UK Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP).

Chloe Greenleaf Bland

Chair of Psychology

The College of Saint Elizabeth

Morristown,New Jersey, USA.

Chloe Greenleaf Bland is the chair of the Psychology Department at the College of Saint Elizabeth in Morristown, NJ, USA. She earned her Research MA in psychology and her Ph.D. in the interdisciplinary concentration of Cognitive, Social, and Developmental Psychology at the New School for Social Research in 2011. She currently has two distinct programs of research. The first is the use of history to teach about the psychology of racism. The second research program is a cross-culture investigation of the social norms that govern care-giving in the US and in India. Her past research includes social-emotional learning in schools, factors that support first-year students, and the different social norms of reciprocity in NY, USA, and Gujarat, India. She consulted for the United Way of Northern NJ where she helped schools assess and improve their climate and culture. She remains on a speakers board for the United Way where she gives workshops and lectures on racism and microaggression to schools around Morris County, NJ. In addition, Chloe is a co-founder of the research partnership between the former Atlantic Health Center for Population Sciences and the College of Saint Elizabeth, which helped to produce the new report on care-giving over the lifespan.

Christy Abraham

Chief Executive Officer

The Association of People with DIsability


Christy Abraham,

Christy Abraham, has 3 decades of experience in a range of development and human rights issues. She is passionate about the rights of poor and excluded groups and communities and has worked on issues of disability, HIV and AIDS, and women’s rights. She is well-known in the development sector for her significant experience in mobilizing communities, formation of networks, Community Based Organizations, building community perspectives on rights and justice and contributions to 25 research papers across multiple domains. Christy has served in multiple roles in ActionAid India as Programme Officer, Programme Manager, and Regional Manager for Karnataka and National Theme Leader for HIV and AIDS and Director Fund Raising. She then moved on to the ActionAid International Secretariat and served as International Programme Manager, HIV and AIDs and International Coordinator of Women’s Rights before she joined The Association of People with Disability, (APD) as its CEO in 2016. Currently, as the CEO of APD, Christy provides executive leadership to meet the aims and objectives of APD. Additionally, she is on the Board of National organizations including Ashraya, Bangalore. Disability NGO Alliance, Bangalore and The Leprosy Mission Trust, India. Christy is a post graduate in Social Work with specialization in Management. She also received training in Leadership Development from Chulalankorn University, Bangkok, Thailand and Maxwell School of Public Affairs, Syracuse University, USA. She has travelled to more than 40 countries providing training, holding programme development workshops and speaking at International foras on multiple issues.

Geetika Agarwal

Associate Director

Stepping Stones Center

Dr. Geetika Agarwal is a Doctorate level behavior analyst (BCBA-D) and a licensed psychologist (inactive) in the state of Washington USA. She completed her Ph.D. from University of Missouri Columbia in School psychology and was selected for highly competitive APA accredited pre-doctoral internship at the Marcus Autism Centre and Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, Atlanta, Georgia. She also completed her post-doctoral training in Atlanta in Psychology. While in Atlanta, Georgia she was a tenure track Assistant Professor of Psychology at Clark Atlanta University and also managed her own private practice. She also got to further her areas of research which includes working with diverse families, parent training, and group parent training. She was an Assistant Director of Behavior Health agency in Seattle and also a licensed psychologist in the state of Washington. Dr Geetika is the associate director of Stepping Stones Center.

Gitanjali Sarangan

Gitanjali Sarangan is the founder of Snehadhara Foundation, an educationist, a social entrepreneur, an Arts Based Therapy Practitioner and an Arts Practices for Inclusion (API) Educator with over two decade’s experience in teaching a diverse population of children and adults. Gitanjali holds a Masters in Biochemistry along with a Post Graduate Diploma in Community Based Rehabilitation. She has studied Applied Buddhist Psychology and Ethics from Pune University. Gitanjali is a trained Bharatanatyam dancer, and has trained in Hindustani and Carnatic Vocals. She has trained under Arthur Hull in Drum Circle Facilitation. Snehadhara Foundation is India's first and only Centre that uses Arts Based Therapy as the primary methodology to work with children and adults with disabilities.

Heather Hackett-Hayes

Owner and Clinical Director

Spectrum Behavioral Associates

Atlanta, Georgia

Ms. Hackett-Hayes is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst. She is the Owner and Clinical Director of Spectrum Behavioral Associates in Atlanta, Georgia. She has more than 25 years of experience providing Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapy services in home, clinic, and school settings, as well as group homes and hospitals. She has trained staff and caregivers in both the US and Canada to provide empirically validated intervention. Mrs. Hackett-Hayes has served on the Autism Speaks Gala Committee, Board of Directors for Erin’s Hope for Friends and is a founding Board Member for MDE school which is a private school in Atlanta that serves children are differently abled. Currently she is completing a Doctorate of Behavioral Health at Arizona State University with a focus on quality improvement in staff training and patient outcomes related to the behavior analysis field.

Jennifer Foster

Associate Professor of Counselor Education, Western Michigan University

Dr. Jennifer Foster, associate professor of counselor education, has served on the faculty at Western Michigan University since 2012. Before joining WMU, Dr. Foster worked as a licensed mental health counselor as well as professional school counselor in the state of Florida. Dr. Foster received her Ph.D. from the University of Central Florida in May of 2011. Her dissertation, An Analysis of Trauma Narratives: Perceptions of Children on the Experience of Sexual Abuse, was awarded University of Central Florida’s College of Education Outstanding Dissertation Award. Dr. Foster has made significant contributions to the field in the area of childhood trauma and has shared her research findings through multiple publications and presentations in the United States and abroad. Additionally, Dr. Foster lends her expertise as a research consultant in the community, specializing in the areas of trauma recovery and trauma informed schools.

Jennifer Gillis

Associate Professor of Psychology

Associate Director of the Institute for Child Development

Director Binghamton Regional Center for Autism Spectrum Disorders

Binghamton University

Dr. Jennifer Gilllis received her PhD from Binghamton University. She completed her pre-doctoral internship at Brown University School of Medicine in Child Clinical Psychology. Jennifer is a licensed clinical psychologist and a Doctoral level behavior analyst (BCBA-D). Prior to joining the Psychology Department in 2013, Jennifer served on the faculty at Auburn University’s Department of Psychology. One focus of her research is the development and evaluation of interventions for individuals with ASD. In this area, she is especially interested in the effectiveness of interventions delivered in naturalistic settings and addressing factors that might account for differences in delivery of treatment in the community as opposed to laboratory settings. The overall goal of this research focus is to develop and adapt treatment manuals, including therapist, parent and staff training for the improvement of quality of life for individuals with ASD and their families.

Joanne M. Hill Powel

Director of Programs in Applied Behavior Analysis

College of Saint Elizabeth

Morristown, New Jersey, USA

Dr. Joanne M. Hill Powell, Ph.D. is the Director of Programs in Applied Behavior Analysis at the College of Saint Elizabeth in Morristown, New Jersey. She earned her Doctorate in Teaching and Applied Behavior Analysis from Columbia University in the city of New York. She holds teaching certifications from birth through grade 12 in general and special education and is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA-D). She has over ten years of experience in teaching and consulting in school settings. In her capacity at the College of Saint Elizabeth, Dr. Powell is committed to leveraging technology and community partnerships to support teaching and behavior analysts preparation programs. She is passionate about best practices in early intervention, behavior analysis in school based settings, educational technology and the research and treatment of individuals with special learning needs in inclusive settings. Dr. Powell is the Founder of Ascending Trends Consulting, which provides consultative services in school-based settings and Ascending Trends Academy, a learning community for students, families and professionals which serves as a supervision site for aspiring behavior analysts. In addition, she is the Co-founder and Chief Data Scientist of Lifted, a technology solution designed to support learners with disabilities using evidence based data tracking strategies.

Kajal Roy

Kajal Roy is an Academician and a Doctoral Research Scholar who has been contributing towards Inclusive Education of differently abled children. She is currently teaching at Insight Academy, a one of its kind school to provide Inclusive Education in the mainstream for differently abled children. She has around 20 years of experience in Information Technology and Academia and currently pursuing her PhD from University of Mysore with a futuristic topic of ‘Application of Artificial Intelligence in Management, an exploratory study in the field of Education ‘’She has also presented various articles on Artificial Intelligence. Kajal is recipient of ‘‘Most promising Research Scholar’’ award from International Institute of Organised Research (2018) and recently received the Women Leadership Award for Contribution to Research and Education for Specially-Abled children from Indian Women Convention (2019)

Kalpana Purushothaman

Juvenile Justice Board

Bangalore (Urban)

Kalpana Purushothaman is part of the Juvenile Justice Board that adjudicates the cases of the children in conflict with the law for the Bangalore (Urban) jurisdiction. She has a background in rehabilitation science, public administration, psychology, counselling and law related to Child Right. She has been working for the mental health of children in conflict with the law for the last several years and believes that play is an essential component for the development and sustenance of the health and well - being of children and adolescents, including children in conflict with the law.

Leanne Chukoskie

Assistant Research Scientist

Qualcomm Institute

UC San Diego

Dr. Chukoskie is the Director of the Power of NeuroGaming (PoNG) Center at the Qualcomm Institute at the University of California, San Diego, where she is an Assistant Research Scientist. Her research places her at the interface of clinical neuroscience, engineering, and education. She is also the Associate Director for the Research for Autism and Development Laboratory (RADLab) where she has been developing and testing sensor-enabled games for intervention and assessment as part of NIH-funded projects. Chukoskie has led NSF-funded research on how movement impacts learning and vice versa. She also leads another NSF-funded project seeking to improve employment outcomes for neurodiverse individuals. In 2017, she co-founded BrainLeap Technologies to make the attention training games she co-created and tested in the lab more broadly available to the public. Chukoskie was recently appointed to the committee overseeing exhibitions at the Gallery@Calit2, where unique installations reflecting the dynamic interplay among art, science, and technology at the Qualcomm Institute.


Head of Department

Department of Early Childhood Education

Smt. VHD Central Institute of Home Science (Autonomous).

Dr. Madhumathy is currently heading the Department of Early Childhood Education and Administration at Smt. VHD Central Institute of Home Science (Autonomous). She has done her post graduation and doctoral studies in Human Development and has a working experience 23 years in teaching, training and research. She is trained in Life Skills Education and counseling. She has also conducted various sessions on sexuality education for school children. Dr. Madhumati is a master trainer for Family Planning Association of India, Bengaluru. She has developed a safety initiative for preschools as part of a UGC project and has trained many preschool children and their parents on child safety in Bengaluru city.

MaKenzie Johns is a Board Certified Behaviour Analyst (BCBA) and Licensed Behaviour Analyst (LBA) in the sate of Michigan. She is the Director of International Services for Early Autism Services in India, is a Behavior Consultant for Early Autism Services’ Detroit, Michigan branch, and is the social skills coordinator for Early Autism Services. She has been working in the field of Applied Behaviour Analysis since 2013. MaKenzie especially enjoys developing social skills programs that seek to increase social behaviours that are reinforcing and lead to socially significant interactions, supervising and training BCBA candidates, and working with the EAS India location. MaKenzie holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Fine Arts and Psychology from The Ohio State University and a Master of Science degree in Applied Behaviour Analysis from the Capella University. She enjoys bringing the creativity from her background in the arts to the programs that she develops for each of her clients, always seeking their best interest.

Manju George

Manju George, listed as one among the top 50 woman change makers, she is a trained psychiatric social worker from Bangalore. She is one of the core members of Bengaluru Coalition for Open Streets (BCOS) and has introduced community capacity increasing activities like Cycle Days, Car free Days and Open street events in more than 8 cities. Her work in inclusive play space has brought changes in the way Indian cities design play spaces for disabled children. She has introduced Walk/Cycle to school programs which has seen changes in infrastructure and behavior among policymakers and city administrators. She is also the prime mover behind promoting place making, sustainable transport and urban agriculture in 8 cities with the help of her organization, ESAF. She was also a panel member at the ASEAN Summit, 2019.

Manoj Kumar Sharma

Professor of Clinical Psychology

National Institute of Mental Health and Allied Neuro Sciences (NIMHANS)


Dr. Manoj Kumar Sharma, specializes in the area of understanding & management of technology overuse /addiction, developing assessment tool for their screening,Yoga and spirituality. He is credited to start the first Tech Deaddiction clinic (SHUT clinic-Service for Healthy Use of Technology)in India. He is expert member of World Health Organization group on addictive behaviors. He has carried out projects by National funding agencies in the area of: Behavioral management of Nicotine dependence; Correlates of Anger among Alcohol Users; Understanding & Prevention of aggression among Youth; Development & validation of Psychiatric morbidity scale; Behavioral addiction in the community: an exploration; Exploration of need and efficacy of internet based program for management of psychological problems; Cell Tower Radiation: psychosocial implication; Pattern and management of technology addiction ;pilot work for development of intervention for promotion of healthy use of technology ;app development for promotion of healthy use of technology and social media & sexting. He brought out articles(N=267) for raising public awareness for promotion of healthy use of technology in National(i.e Visual/print) and International( i.e BBC & BMJ). He got 88 publications (National & International) to his credit in the domains of psychological test development; anger, alcohol use and its management; Pattern and prevention of technology addiction; mindfulness/Yoga and it applicability in smoking cessation as well as adjunct treatment modality for promotion of healthy use of technology

Naveen I. Thomas



Dr. Naveen works with children and youth in creating playful learning spaces and facilitating experiences that promote learning and well-being. Naveen co-founded Headstreams, a non-profit organisation eleven years ago with the belief that every person needs opportunities to realise their inherent potential. And through the journey discovered that play is a powerful experience which leads us towards this realisation. A program called ‘Tackle’ co-founded by Naveen, which sets up free play and learning spaces for children from low-income backgrounds was identified as a pioneering programme in reimagining learning and facilitating play within community settings. The play and learn initiative of Headstreams is being implemented in 42 state-run schools of Karnataka through an in-class programme called ‘Arivu-Disha’. Naveen is actively involved in the design and facilitation of the Post-Graduate Diploma and Certificate Courses in Play and Well-being, offered by Headstreams in association with various Universities. He is a trained social worker and has completed his doctoral studies from Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), Mumbai and PG Diploma in Medical Law & Ethics from National Law School of India University, Bengaluru.

Nihaar Ameen

Swimming Coach


Winner of Dronacharya Award

Nihar Ameen is the pre-eminent Indian swimming coach, winner of Dronacharya Award 2015, and is associated with the Dolphin Academy in Padukone-Dravid Centre for Sports Excellence, Bangalore. Among his trainees are the first Indian athletes to qualify for the Olympics, Shikha Tandon at Athens, 2004 and Virdhawal Khade and Sandeep Sejwal for Beijing, 2008. He has also coached Meghana Narayan. In 1989-19 92, Ameen was assistant national team coach in the USA with Team Director and Olympic Coach, Jack Nelson. Nihar Ameen is also a member of the panel of experts for GoSports Foundation, a sports non- governmental organisation. He is also a core committee member of the GoSports Foundation Bangalore Coaches’ Forum towards providing mentorship support to upcoming coaches and conducting educational workshops for coaches.

Nicole Fenty

Associate Professor

Department of Teaching, Learning, and Educational Leadership

Binghamton University

Binghamton New York

Dr. Nicole Fenty is currently an Associate Professor in the department of Teaching, Learning, and Educational Leadership at Binghamton University in Binghamton NY. She teaches courses in literacy, inclusive education, and special education. Dr. Fenty has taught literacy and other content areas (e.g., mathematics and social studies) to elementary students at risk or diagnosed with a disability. She has conducted research on teacher knowledge and training related to integrating literacy and STEM curricula.

Partha Varanashi, MSc Plant Biotechnology, University of Adelaide, while assisting management of Varanashi Organic Farms and Research Centre in Adyanadka, Western Karnataka, has simultaneously followed his passion for swimming and water safety. He was a member of the Indian coaching team for 2019 FINA World Championships (South Korea) and holds the onerous post of AUSTSWIM presenter in India. He is currently swim director of Nettakalappa Aquatic Centre (Deccan Group), Puttur Aquatic Club and Varanasi Swimming Academy. He is also a founder director of Surf Life Saving Society of India.

Preethi Vickram

Founder Director

LIFE (Leadership Initiative For Educators)


Master Franchisee

Podar Education Network (Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana)

Preethi Vickram is a committed educator, passionate parenting coach, leadership mentor and a brand champion. She constantly thrives to make a difference in the lives of children and consequently, the world at large. She has been an educationist for over 15 years and is associated with Podar Education Network, providing sub franchisees to Karnataka, AP and Telangana and she is currently handling 56 centers. She has also been the Territory head for ECA. Preethi is a Leadership mentor and Founder Director of LIFE, which is a dynamic initiative that focuses on educational leadership and organizational cultures. She has presented at the NAEYC conference 2014 in Dallas on ‘Role of Humour in Early Childhood’, and presented on leadership development in children using Superhero play in in 2016 at Los Angeles. Ms. Preethi has had the privilege of attending the LEGO Idea Conference in 2018 at Billund, Denmark as a special invitee.

Priyanka Bhabu

First Board Certified Behavior Analyst – Doctoral (BCBA-D ) in India.

Director of CRIA – A Center for Research and Intervention with Applied Behavior Analysis, India

Dr. Priyanka Bhabu has been working for 14 years in the area of voice disorders,speech,communication and Applied Behavior Analysis. She is a surgeon by training with a master's degree in Otorhinolaryngology and a fellowship in Voice Disorders from The Voice Clinic, George Washington University, Washington D.C. (USA). She has published her work in Neurolaryngological speech disorders at the National Institute of Health, Bethseda, MD, USA. Priyanka’s primary interest is in Skinner's Verbal Behavior Approach and Application of ABA principles to teach language (skill deficits) and deal with behavioral issues (Behavioral Excesses) in children with Autism and Developmental Disabilities. She is the Founder Director of CRIA – A Center for Research and Intervention with Applied Behavior Analysis which runs centers across Northern India for children with language delays and Autism. She is now on a mission to develop scientifically - trained professionals along with parent education in ABA based strategies to empower caregivers and children with Autism and other Developmental disorders.

Radhika Poovayya

Founder and Director

Samvaad Institute

Bangalore, India

Radhika Poovayya is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) and holds a Masters in Speech and Hearing from All India Institute of Speech and Hearing (AIISH), India's first and premier education institute. She is currently a managing trustee of GSM Education Trust. She empathizes with people who have communication disabilities and have spent 30 years in understanding the science of speech pathology. After completing her Masters she started a training institute Samvaad in Bangalore and also runs 4 clinics across Bangalore. She is also associated with Manipal Hospital, HOSMAT Hospital and Baptist hospital in Bangalore.

Ratnesh Mathur

Ratnesh Mathur has been working with children for over eighteen years. He works with children of all ages – from two years to teenagers. He also works intensely with parents and teachers. He propagates democratic, learner-driven environments. He is part of Aarohi Open Learning Community. Aarohi is an Open Learning Community for learners of all ages: Open to all kinds of interests, abilities, styles and content areas. Learning by doing what one wants, how one wants, and self reflection. Community to co-live, co-learn and co-support each other. Aarohi's Campus is in a village near Hosur in Tamil Nadu (55km from Bangalore).

“I like learning with children. I do not like teaching. My chief role is to agitate, to confuse, to challenge. For this reason children and parents consider me to be a mentor, but they call me tormentor.” – Ratnesh

Ruchi Sinha

Associate Professor

Centre for Criminology and Justice, School of Social Work

TATA Institute of Social Sciences

Mumbai Campus

Dr. Ruchi Sinha completed her Master of Philosophy (M.Phil.) and Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D) in Community Health with a focus on Violence from Jawaharlal Nehru University. She joined the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) as faculty with the erstwhile Department of Criminology and Correctional Administration in 1996. With about two decades of experience in social work and criminal justice system her work spans areas of violence, human rights ,policing, crime and development, criminal justice policy, social work in criminal justice system, trafficking, child rights, child protection and juvenile justice. Dr. Sinha has been a visiting faculty at Gothenburg University, Sweden (2011).

Sanchita Mukherjee

Sanchita is a passionate believer of LEGO’s Learning through Play approach. She has significant experience across corporate, academic, STEM settings and the LEGO methodologies. At Edutech, she is responsible for business and curriculum development.

Sandeep Kumar Jain


Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE)- Centre for Excellence

New Delhi, India

Dr. Jain, Ph.D., Deputy Secretary, CBSE, has 11 years of teaching experience in the field of psychology. Along with contributing greatly to the field of inclusive education, he also headed the Inclusive Education Cell of the Board at Delhi. His years of exoerience in the field include development of curriculum, sample question papers and training manuals. He continues to be associated with several government and NGOs for working towards the welfare of persons with disabilities. He currently is the Head of The CBSE- Centre for Excellence.

Sarita Ganesh

Sarita Ganesh has master’s degree in Social Work from Tata Institute of Social Work (TISS), Mumbai. She has been active in the environmental movements like Narmada Bachao Andolan, Center for Human Ecology and National Alliance of People’s Movement. She has also been a part of the committee that started an alternative school called Akshar Nandan in Pune. Sarita established Khula Aasman, an organisation that uses art for transformation. Khula Aasman works with the women rescued of prostitution, incarcerated population, and children and also in Observation Homes with children in conflict with the law. The organisation has used various modalities of play and art with this group of children in conflict with the law. It’s been realised that these children need to be heard in safe and non-judgmental spaces. Play and art helps them to de-stress, think differently about themselves and make them feel very positive about their future.

Sheila Devaraj has over 27 years of grassroots and advocacy experience working with underprivileged children (children in distress), women, Government and legal systems for child protection. She is the Director of APSA, a 37-year old child rights organisation working with urban poor communities. She is credited with developing many key projects in APSA. She personally monitors ‘Suraksha’, APSA’s 5-year old Open Shelter for adolescent girl survivors of sexual abuse and trafficking. Sheila has trained over 2,500 police personnel in Bangalore city on sensitive handling of children in distress, children in conflict with the law (CICWL) and in substance abuse. She has helped to rehabilitate and mainstream over 10,000 street and working children.

Smita Desai

Co-founder and Director


Mumbai & Bangalore

Dr. Smita Desai is a prominent contributor in the areas of Psychology and Special Education Needs since 1986. She holds a Ph.D. in Psychology from Mumbai University and M.Ed degree credits in Special Education Needs & Behaviour Disorders from North Carolina State University, U.S.A. She is the Co-Founder & Director of Drishti, an organization in Mumbai since 1994 and in Bangalore since 2014. Drishti provides a spectrum of services including Diagnostics, Therapies, School Counselling Programs & Training Programs- across school systems pan India and Dubai,UAE; and has been among the 10 shortlisted awardees across South-East Asia for the Dell educational entrepreneurship technology award for its Therapy Management platform known as the SMIP. Drishti conducts Online Training certificate programs for principals, teachers and counsellors in collaboration with the SIES-ICE College, Mumbai & Sampurna Montfort College of Psychology, Bangalore. She is also the CBSE Master Trainer in the area of Inclusive Education since 2015. She has co-authored a chapter on ‘Decoding barriers to Inclusion’ in the book Implementing Inclusion in India (2018). Dr. Desai has contributed to the UGC e- PG Pathshala - Adult Education Project in the area of Educational Psychology. She was Hon. Secretary of the Bombay Psychological Association, Mumbai 2012 - 2018 and is currently its Executive Committee Member. She is also on the Board of Studies (BOS) of Sophia College , Mumbai. Research papers in the relevant field have been published & presented at various National and International conferences. Dr. Desai, with her team at Drishti, looks forward to increasingly devoting her experience & expertise to quality education programs for children with Special Education Needs at affordable costs and in the public school system.

Sruthi Javdekar

Research Associate

Children’s Environments Research Group (CERG)


PhD scholar

Graduate Center

City University of New York.

Sruthi Javdekar is a doctoral student at the City Univeristy of New York, pursuing her research in Environmental Psychology. She is also a Research Associate at CERG. With a formal training in architecture and design, Sruthi’s research acknowledges the limited reference to a supporting physical environment towards fulfillment of children’s rights in urban areas. Specifically, her work examines the impact of urban built environments upon children and young people’s holistic development. Using interdisciplinary research methodology through a participatory lens, Sruthi critically positions her work within the theoretical frameworks of environmental social sciences and architectural research and design.Recognizing children as active agents in their environments, her research focuses on the physical and social affordances of play environments of children with varied abilities; and children’s active participation in the creation of their play spaces. Currently, Sruthi lives in Pune city, India and continues to bridge research and scholarship with CERG, New York. Sruthi’s work focuses on developing research projects with local organizations and linking them to university scholarship, thereby, aiming to influence state, national and global policy-making for children living in urban areas. Sruthi is also the India country representative to the International Play Association – World.

Suchetha Bhat

Chief Executive Officer

Dream a Dream

Bangalore, India

Suchetha Bhat has over 16 years of work experience having worked both in the corporate and social sector. As an Electronics and Communication engineer, she started her career with Larsen and Toubro and then worked with multinationals such as Telelogic and IBM during her successful 9 year corporate stint. However, volunteering for Dream a Dream helped her realize her true passion and she went on to get a Post Graduate degree in Psychology. Since joining Dream a Dream full-time in 2010, she has been instrumental in scaling the impact of the organization, while designing programs using the process of the ‘Arc of Transformation’ for youth and adults. Her strengths include understanding child-adversity, organization culture building, and impact assessment of life-skills programs. Her passion is to advocate for the urgency and criticality of preparing young people from adversity, for the new world.

Suchitra Choudhry

Clinical Director

Early Autism Services (EAS)

Bengaluru, India

Suchitra Choudhury is the Clinical Director of Early Autism Services (EAS), Bengaluru, India. She completed her ABA course sequence from University of Florida, and is a Board Certified Behaviour Analyst. She has a Master’s in Clinical Psychology from Amity University, Noida. She pursues towards ethical application of the science of Applied Behaviour Analysis in various domains. She pursues towards ethical application of the science of Applied Behaviour Analysis in various domains. Suchitra has 6 years of experience of working with individuals on the autism spectrum and is passionate about effectively using scientifically proven techniques in the reduction of problem behaviour and to increase appropriate behaviour. She takes a keen interest in learning and spreading knowledge and information about ABA with people from all walks of life.

Sudeshna Chatterjee

Founder and CEO

Action for Children’s Environments

New Delhi, India

Dr. Sudeshna Chatterjee has a PhD in Community and Environmental Design from North Carolina State University, USA. Sudeshna’s passion for making cities child friendly led her to setting up the non-profit organization Action for Children’s Environments (ACE) in 2011, which engages in research, advocacy, planning and design to improve the living environments of children. ACE has worked globally on many child-centred urban programming and climate change adaptation projects as well as on right to play with many organizations such as UNICEF, Save the Children, International Play Association (IPA), and Bernard van Leer Foundation among others. Sudeshna currently serves as a member of the international board of IPA; the India Chair for the Child Friendly Asia Pacific Network; a columnist for My Liveable City; an editorial advisory board member of the International Journal of E-Planning Research (IJEPR) and the international journal of Children, Youth and Environments (CYE). Sudeshna has published widely on topics related to children and urban environments including the study on Climate Change Risks and Resilience in Urban Children in Asia in Bangladesh, Philippines and Vietnamfor Save the Children and IIED; servingas a member of the working group that contributed to the drafting the General Comment 17 on Article 31 (right to play) of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child; and leading the 6 country research and training project of IPA on Access to Play in Crisis.

Svetlana Iyer

Svetlana Iyer, MS Ed, BCBA-is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) and a certified special education teacher in New York and Connecticut. She holds a Master’s degree in Elementary and Special Education from Binghamton University (SUNY). Svetlana has worked in the field of special education for over 12 years. Her experience ranges from inclusive schools (Greenwich, CT) to self-contained day treatment programs for students with severe disabilities (Wildwood School, Schenectady, NY). Prior to relocating to India, Svetlana served as a primary resource to staff in understanding positive behavior support, ABA, and educational programs for children with disabilities. Currently, Svetlana is a director of Stepping Stones Center, providing assessment, developing and supervising center-based ABA interventions and courses for staff professional development. Svetlana’s interest is to develop an ABA based school program for children with autism in India, which will provide a range of services from most intensive to least restrictive inclusive general education program.

Swathi Bhatt


Play for Peace

Swati Bhatt is an Experiential Educators working in this field for close to 22 years. She conducts training for youth, children and organizations across India as Co-Founder of Play for Peace initiative in India. The training are aimed at enabling participants to work for inclusive education by understanding/learning Play for Peace process and its application. Play for Peace is now being seen as a process in India in development sector for which Swati has worked for last 19 years when she first led the pilot project of Play for Peace Global in Pune in 2000. Swati started working in experiential education program 22 years back and has also co-facilitated outbound programs for team building, leadership for organizations. Swati has also made a 22 minute film “Khel se Mel” documenting the cooperative gaming process of Play for Peace and its application in marginalized communities for a project in 2010. She has also made a 2 part documentary on Experiential Education in 1997 and has worked as a curriculum development Officer for a School Aanand Niketan in Ahmedabad. She has a Masters in “Communication Media for Children” from SNDT Women's University in Pune.

Syed Sultan Ahmed

Managing Director &

Chief Learner

LXL Ideas

Sultan Sultan Ahmed is a 1 st Gen social entrepreneur and winner of 6 President of India’s National Film Award. He is the MD & Chief Learner @LXL ideas, an organisation that enables learning for life by creating experiences through its research, events,films and publications for students, parents & educators. Sultan is a passionate educator, an amazing speaker, film producer, publisher, motivational speaker, admired event manager and a prolific educational blogger. He holds a Masters degree in Entrepreneurship from MIT-Boston. He is a Chemical Engineering from Bangalore University, certified NLP practitioner and Master Trainer from Dale Carnegie USA. He introduced the concept of Film Pedagogy to the world by creating School Cinema a first of its kind learning methodology in the world that utilizes the power of films to teach life skills. In addition to leading LXL Ideas, Sultan is an advisor to MHRD, CIET-NCERT, Member of FICCI School Education Committee and the Mentorship Chair for Entrepreneur Organisation South Asia. He serves as an advisor to several children’s brands, educational institutions, social organisations & entrepreneurial ventures. He has published several research papers in international journals on Psychosocial Development of Children and Media Pedagogy program 22 years back and has also co-facilitated outbound programs for team building, leadership for organizations.

Unnati Hunjan

Animal Assisted Therapist

Ms. Unnati Hunjan has a background in clinical psychology from the Department of Psychology, CHRIST (Deemed to be University). She is an animal-assisted therapist and actively pursues research work in the field neuropsychology and attempts to combine both by studying the effect of AAI on various aspects of neuropsychological functioning, which is also her focus in PhD. She has facilitated various workshops and lectures related to AAI at national and international platforms. Some of her recent presentations were at Miami University and IAHAIO conference in New York. Currently she is working with and studying therapy dogs but hopes to incorporate other animals too in the near future.

Vanitha S. Rao

Founder Director

Sunshine Autism Trust


Dr. Vanitha S. Rao is a developmental psychologist and autism consultant. She is the founder director of Sunshine Autism Trust, Bangalore. Dr Vanitha S Rao has over 2 decades of experience in working with young children on the autism spectrum and other developmental disabilities. She has a Master’s degree in Human Development from Bangalore University and a PhD from St. John’s Medical College Hospital. She also has 2 special education diplomas from KPAMRC in Learning Disabilities and Autism Spectrum Disorders. She has been actively involved in parent and professional training in the field of autism intervention and has conducted several workshops in India and abroad. She has several research papers to her credit.

Venkatesh Reddy

Venkatesh Reddy is trained Developmental Play Practitioner who has dedicated his post corporate life to the field of Play. He is the founder of Huegah Life - an initiative to revive the lost tradition of Inter-generational Play. He works with teenagers at schools delivering programs like Life-skills through Play to plug-in the needs of conventional educational systems. Huegah Life also works with training teachers on Playful teaching to unleash the child in them to better connect with students. He intends to give back the power of 'Resiliency' to the next generation and thereby works to create an ecosystem by addressing the Play needs of Parents, Educators and Caregivers to children of all abilities.

Victor John Cordeiro

Samarthanam Trust for Disabled

Dr. Victor John Cordeiro, Ph.D., Mysore University has been associated with the development sector since 21 years, working with national and international development agencies, people’s organisations and movements both at grass root and management level, in order to contribute to the process change. He was the Director at Re-Generated Ethics of Democracy [RED]-India , Manager, Advocacy & Campaigns at Leonard Cheshire Disability South Asia Regional office and Director at Innovative Development Transformation. In his current role, he is actively involved in preparing proposals for institutional donors, policy advocacy at national and international human right platforms. He represents the organisation in appropriate forums and actively participates in survey processes conducted by various stakeholders on issues concerning persons with disabilities.

Viviana Gonzalez

Clinical Director

Early Autism Services( EAS)


Viviana Gonzalez is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) and Licensed Behavior Analyst (LBA) in the state of Virginia. She is the Clinical Director of Early Autism Services’ Alexandria, Virginia branch and has been working in the field of Applied Behavior Analysis since 2007. Her experience encompasses work with children, adolescents and adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder and other Developmental Disabilities, as well as typically developing children and adolescents; caregiver, teacher and staff training. Viviana holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology and a Master of Arts degree in Applied Behavior Analysis from the University of South Florida. Her professional interests are in the areas of treatment and reduction of problem behavior; clinician, teacher and caregiver training and applied behavioral research. She enjoys teaching and disseminating Behavior Analysis, and strives to help every client, family and supervisee develop strong skills that will support lasting change.