TÊTE-À-TÊTE With Deepa Garwa
TÊTE-À-TÊTE With Deepa Garwa
Meet the ever enigmatic and charismatic lady, Ms. Deepa Garwa. She is a reading consultant for children with special needs, a blogger, an inclusive education researcher and a hands-on mother of two. She is mother to Aarshia, a beautiful child with Down’s syndrome. Ms. Deepa Garwa is the founder of Two-Minute Parenting, a blog designed for parents and professionals working with children with special needs. Read on for a few excerpts from her interview.
On talking about her initial startup with Two-Minute Parenting, she recalls, “When I got my daughter’s diagnosis and was clueless about what it meant and what it entails, I went online and tried to find resources that could help but I was shocked that there was hardly anything for parents who were seeking information about special needs. Most of the information that was available only talked about the challenges, the problems and a predictable sad life cycle of our children and the parents. It was depressing. So when I got out of that initial phase of denial and acceptance, I thought of starting something for new parents so they knew what was in store for them and they could get prepared in advance and understand that it was not the end of the world.”
Two Minute Parenting is a source of infinite resources for parents and professionals alike. As Deepa rightly states, “I wear many hats at two minute parenting. I conduct reading workshops for parents, therapists and teachers to teach strategies of reading to children with special needs. I also research extensively for inclusive education and its best practices and models from all over the world. I modify school syllabus for my readers and share modified worksheets of comprehension, adaptation and the guidelines of creating their own material. The most important work that I believe I do is to write articles. From experiences to research, I share many insights with my fellow parents through my posts as well as videos.”
Elaborating on her typical work-day schedule, she believes she is her own boss, which is the best part of being a blogger, though she cautions that at times, it could be counter-productive as well! She starts her work typically by 9 am, as soon as she sends her children and husband to school and work respectively, and works till about 2-2:30 pm every day. Her personal inspiration is derived from knowing as much as she can to change the expected trajectory of children with special needs. With two minute parenting, she hopes to bring knowledge, creativity, fun and happiness into the lives of all parents and children with special needs.
Deepa feels blessed to be a ray of hope in so many lives of parents and children with different abilities. She reckons, “Every time a parent calls and confesses that they were inspired and motivated by reading my articles or watching Aarshia’s videos, it makes me humbled and grateful to the universe and its powers. Every time a parent calls in distress and if I am able to calm them and help them solve their problems, I feel gratitude. The awareness that with my knowledge and time, I can empower a parent is a feeling which cannot be expressed in words. It could be through my writing, videos or a phone call, but I feel inspired every day to carry on and bring a change.”
Throwing light over the years of working with parents and children, she shares, “I believe life teaches us a new lesson everyday, it is only up to us to see those as life changing experiences. The one thing that I have learned over all these years is the fact that your attitude can change the course of your life. Everything can be dealt with a positive attitude. Research suggests that unhappy people remain unhappy even after winning big lotteries and happy people are eventually happy, even after they have gone through big debacles or physical challenges. This knowledge has helped me realize that ultimately one’s happiness doesn’t depend on what one has but who that person inherently is.”
She believes in educating parents about exploring their child’s condition, and guiding them in maximizing their child’s potential. On being asked to share a message with her fellow parents, Deepa says, “The one message that I would like to share with other parents and caregivers is to take a step back and accept the fact that they cannot control everything in their child’s life. They may feel so but it is not true. Also, do not feel bad asking for help. They would be surprised to know the willingness of a community and fellow parents. My fellow parents all over the world are people I am extremely proud to have in my life. There are many I have never met and have only known virtually but each one of them contributes in my life and learnings in so many ways. My last piece of advice for fellow parents would be for them to have a life of their own. When we invest so much of ourselves in others including our children or spouses, resentment builds up. We start looking for our happiness in their actions and we feel unhappy if they don’t do what we think they should be doing or the way they should be performing. Feelings like ‘I gave up my career for this house or my life for my son’ are typical example of resentment within. Whenever one finds themselves heading to that thought, one needs to head straight back to the sane city and follow their heart so at the end of the day, one is happy with themselves. There should be no pressure or baggage in being a special needs parent. If you like to watch a good movie while having tea and if that’s your idea of a good day… go for it. Do something for yourself. At the end of the day, it is imperative and critical to invest in your own happiness and also do things that make you happy and content.”
Such an absolute delight in catching up with this amazing lady, and her high spirited attitude! Hats of Ms. Deepa for all the wonderful work that you have been doing and continue to do so, and 1 SPecialPlace wishes you the very best of luck for all your future endeavors!