5 Activities to do at Home while We Practice Social Distancing

Parents, with all the scare surrounding COVID-19 and social distancing, many of us are stuck at home and so are the kids. There are many activities parents can do at home for their kids and I am sure that you have read it all. But we, at InclusivEd, wanted to contribute to that list of activities that you can do at home during this period which could be useful for the future as well. All these activities are suitable for neurotypical and neurodivergent kids. They can be adapted according to the child and his/her skill set.

Go Shopping

Parents, you can pick a few items around the house to add to your pop up shop. It could be food items or general things around the house. Price each item accordingly. Make play money or use monopoly money or even real cash and give your kids a budget. Instruct them that only within their budget, can they buy items from your shop. It is your choice if you want them to keep the items safe or if you want to take it back at the end of the game.

A pro tip: Use items that you know would catch their interest. 


  • Teaching or Reinforcing the concept of money and the value of it. 
  • Building an interest in budget making 
  • Teaching them to buy items only which they need thereby inculcating sustainable buying habits. 

Memory Games

There are many online and offline memory games that could be made use of. One game that I am sure most parents would remember, where we put different items on a tray and show it to the group once. We then hide the tray with a cloth and ask the group to write down what they remember. With kids, you can start with lesser items at first and then keep increasing them. You can also make it competitive and interactive by asking other family members to join in. Each of you could take turns to be the one to place items on the tray, even your kid can do so. You can do it on a bi weekly basis and see if items are remembered even after a gap or with distractions. You can adapt the game in various ways according to your goal. 

Pro tip: To make it more interesting and educational, you can put flashcards that have the picture and the word on a tray and ask children to remember them. You can also then either put only pictures or only words and see which one your children remember more.


  • Building working memory 
  • If the child is writing or typing, then you are building that skill as well. 
  • Observing and building short term memory 
  • Teaching kids the skill of winning or losing a game 

No Fire Cooking

Cooking is a great activity which all kids (neurotypical and neurodiverse) can benefit from. It is also an important life skill for kids for when they become independent. To start with, look for recipes where there is no fire or oven needed. You can write or print out the recipe in bold and large font. Make sure to read the instructions with the child as well as measure the items in advance. You can help the child with the recipe at first. Do not rush too many recipes at once. Let the child practice the same recipe over and over again till they are able to do it on their own.  Use recipes that relate to the child’s interest.

Pro tip: Video record the making of the food item first by yourself and if possible edit it with subtitles. It will help children who are more visual learners to have something before them and they will relate to it more as the person and the environment is familiar. If the recipe is only printed, please use pictures and numbers to make the steps and make it more visual. 


  • Life skill
  • Calculating measurements 
  • Independence 
  • Building reading comprehension skills
  • Building identification of utensils and food products (life skill) 
  • Building motivation in a skill 

Emotional Expression

Often times, parents or caregivers may not have the time or space to talk about emotions and what it means to express. There are plenty of games online as well as activities one can do to ensure that children learn self expression of emotions. One such activity that can be done is using ‘I am feeling…..’ sentence starters during the day to express as an adult how you are feeling. Role model for your child on how to self express. It is very important that children understand that they CAN and are ENTITLED to say how they are feeling, whether positive or negative. Your reaction as a parent also matters at that time. This isolation period can be stressful for both parents and children so please do use this time to practice and promote emotional self expression and regulation. 

Treasure Hunt and Public Speaking

Now we all know the popular game of treasure hunt and it is especially useful during this time when the whole family is stuck indoors. My twist to the game would be to add a few sentences as part of each clue and ask the person who found the clue to read the sentences out loud. Parents, role model the tone, the volume, the body language while speaking the sentences. Many kids find it difficult to speak aloud or verbalise their thoughts which can be quite frustrating therefore we can use this time to help build their confidence. For non verbal kids, you can use the communicative devices or any other forms of communication that you use. You can also place pictures in sequence or sentences that have a sequence at each clue to help them with their sequencing skills.

Pro tip: Large font and simple sentences help ease into the game. You can keep increasing the difficulty level once the child has got the hang of the game.


  • Building confidence 
  • Building strategy and analytical skills 
  • Team building skills
  • Building reading skills 

These are my five activities to do at home during this self isolation period. I hope you find them useful. If you would like to give me feedback about the activities, I am open to positive or negative, please email me at naomi@inclusived.org or post on our facebook page. Stay safe everybody! 

Why Educational Remediation?

Schools often put a huge amount of pressure on children. They are put in a class of 30 or 40; asked to learn, pay attention, not move, be interested and motivated to do work. While many children have the ability to cope with these pressures, there is also a group of children who find it difficult to cope. These children show subtle signs that may often go unnoticed. They may be the ones who score below average or sometimes even the ones who score above. They will sometimes exhibit disturbing behaviors or have drastic mood changes. They often are the ones who will do anything to get out doing school work that has been given to them.

Remediation for children with difficult in school

The signs are subtle but every now and then, a teacher or parent will notice that these children are missing out on something. At times, a teacher may make a recommendation for the child to be tested for any learning issues or cognitive differences. As I have seen from my experience, there are those parents who will take their child based on the recommendation, but there are also those who will find it difficult to accept. In certain instances, the children who’ve been tested may show certain cognitive differences and learning issues that may attribute to their negative behaviors in school. So what next?

Educational Remediation

Now these children may not specifically exhibit issues that fall under labels such as Dyslexia, Dysgraphia, ADHD, Autism and so on but they have overlapping areas of concern that needs a different kind of approach. Educational remedial therapy is the next step for these children to support them in developing better learning strategies and providing them with the skills necessary to live in this social world. This type of therapy is for those kids who do not fall under a specific category but still need the kind of support that a therapist can offer.  

A therapist who has training in special education will be able to identify the specific areas of concern and work towards providing strategies to overcome those difficulties. This person will support the child in understanding academic concepts to make school life more manageable. A tutor will work on subject areas and the general curriculum which can be done by any person who is knowledgeable in that area. This kind of therapy is like any other where it needs time and patience for it to properly show some progress in the child. Consistency is another major factor for therapy to work. If the child does not attend sessions regularly then the level of progress will be very slow. Any kind of psychological therapy has a stigma attached to it but the more we talk about it, the more acceptance there will be. The first step is for parents to accept that even though their child may seem “normal”, they still require more than a tutor.

If you would like to know more about this kind of therapy, please email us at naomi@inclusived.org or message us on our Facebook page.

Acceptance in Therapy

Acceptance in therapy is two fold. Firstly, it is the endeavor to completely embrace one’s child for who they are and for any differences they may have. Secondly, it is understanding and being patient with the therapy that a child is undergoing. Acceptance is an easy enough notion to understand but is rather difficult to imbibe. We all face situations where we find it hard to accept the reality in front of us. Our expectations, hopes and desires make it arduous for us to adapt to what is in front of us.

Child accepted by parents is important to therapy.

Therefore, I am completely empathetic towards parents who find it difficult to accept that their child requires different coping mechanisms to go through life. All parents have certain desires and goals that they want their children to achieve and some find it tough to understand that it may not go their way. There’s one thing that I tell all my clients, the first step is acceptance and if you have taken that first step to come for therapy, you have already accomplished a lot.

Many parents tell me that they wish they would have come sooner and of course, that is definitely better for the child. But the fact that they have taken that step to get that extra support for their child is saying a lot. Once parents accept their child as he/she is, they will come to learn and love that person even more. All children, with additional needs or not, thrive when they are accepted for the people that they are and for the interests and desires they may have. Children learn that when they are accepted, they are respected.

The other aspect of acceptance is understanding and being patient with the therapy that your child is undergoing. Any psychological therapeutic process is just what it is, a process. It goes through ups and downs, has its own trials and errors and most importantly, takes time. Sometimes different therapies work differently for a variety of children. It is about being patient with that process and understanding that every child will progress at their own time. The therapeutic process can consist of a variety of techniques to enable the child to develop better coping mechanisms in order to live and work in the world around them.

Accepting your child completely is very important to their growth and their emotional well being. Take one small step each day in moving towards that goal of embracing your child with their strengths and weaknesses and you will see the difference.

At InclusivEd, our endeavour is to support children through an Inclusive approach to learning. Follow us on Facebook to know more. 

What is in a label?

Diagnostic labels specify the kind of challenges that one is facing in their daily lives. For children, these challenges are in the areas of learning, socialisation, behaviour, communication, processing of information and so on. Today, with the kind of awareness and subtle acceptance of these challenges, children are being diagnosed for challenges concerning their learning and behaviour at a much higher rate. Labels are becoming ever so prominent, and with everything in life, I believe there are positive and negative aspects to this labeling.

Don’t get me wrong. I use to be a major proponent of labeling. It was the way I believed we should start working with children with additional support needs. But over the past few years, this notion in me has gradually changed. I have come to realise that it is not the label that matters, but the child in front of me and his/her challenges. I am starting to understand that while it is an advantage to have a label in that I comprehend their needs, the crux of the matter is that when I am sitting with a particular child and learning about his / her difficulties, the person who they present is what is important.

This is definitely a topic for debate. Hence, I would like to outline some positives and negatives when it comes to labeling children. This is my way of creating conversations about what it means to put a diagnostic label on a child and I feel we should discuss this more openly.

Positives of Labeling

  • To understand the symptoms presented in front of us.
  • To move the unnecessary blame from being on the child to the label.
  • To highlight the occurrences of a particular disorder in a given population.
  • To provide the appropriate accommodations for children in a school setting.
  • To provide a sense of understanding for the parents and child on what is happening

Negatives of Labeling

  • To risk an opening into further stigmatization of the child from his/her peers.
  • To risk a focus only on the symptoms of the label and ignore the presenting concerns.
  • To increase the risk of over diagnosis
  • To risk over medication
  • To risk the child losing his/her sense of choice and blaming everything on the diagnosis.
  • To avoid taking into account, any other factors that could be responsible for presenting behaviors.

So this has been my understanding of the effects of labeling and its pros and cons. I would like to hear from you too. Do write in the comment section or you can message me on your Facebook page.

Journey of Self-Exploration

A Workshop at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bengaluru

On the day of the workshop at the IISc, Bengaluru, I walked in early and found myself in awe of the green and beautiful campus. Honestly, I was nervous about standing in front of some of the country’s top students and asking them about identity, belongingness and their understanding of body image. The serene environment at the campus went a long way in calming my nerves down.

Naomi Menon, Founder, InclusivEd at a workshop in Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru

Held on 2nd February 2019, the workshop was for undergraduate students on self-exploration and what that meant. We started with Professor Anjula Gurtoo talking about how our names were a big part of our identity and our understanding of ourselves in relation to the world outside. When the students shared their own thoughts about this, it was evident that some of them didn’t like their names because of what it meant or how it stood out. The intention behind this game was to recognise how our names constitute a very big part of our identity and sense of self.

We then moved to the next part of the workshop, where we wanted to created a sense of belonging within the group to understand how we are not alone in our thoughts, feelings or behaviours. I facilitated the ‘Line Game’ which was a series of 20 questions that students were asked to answer and then to identify how they were not alone in their answers. For some, it gave an insight into what they’ve been feeling about themselves and also a deeper evaluation of how they could relate to another person even if they do not know them.

Naomi Menon, Founder, InclusivEd at a workshop in  Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru

The last segment of the workshop was on body image which has become such a integral part of all our lives and dictates how we present ourselves to the outside world. I facilitated a discussion between the students and it was an opportunity for them to speak openly about their ideas and feelings surrounding body image issues. It was great to see the students being open and honest with each other about what they liked or did not like about themselves.

It was an enriching experience for students as well as for me. We learn a lot from each other and I only hope they continue on this journey of self-exploration.

At InclusivEd, our endeavour is to support children through an Inclusive approach to learning. Follow us on Facebook to know more.

Play Years : Developmental Milestones

A major step in the life of any child is the beginning of the school phase. Children as young as two years old are now being put into playschools where they start learning basic social skills as well as academic ones. Psychologists term the stage from two years to five years as preschool years or ‘play years’. In this stage, the concept of play is very important as it helps the child to understand the social structure of their peer group as well as develop their language skills. The neurological changes in the brain, during this time, greatly influence the processes of language. Children have the urge to talk continuously or communicate with the people around which helps them to develop better speaking skills, grammar structure as well as develop a wide range of vocabulary. Their cognitive and motor skills are also more developed which allows them to participate in as many play activities as they want. Children between the ages of 3 to 5, develop a concept called ‘theory of mind’. It is the understanding that other people may think differently from them and they can judge their thoughts. Emotional skills also develop during this phase where a child who is three years old may be prone to tantrums or uncontrollable anger but a child at five years old is able to control and better express his/her emotions.

Development Milestones in Play Years

Now going back to the assessment or observation of children at this stage for any areas of concern, we can look at certain developmental milestones. I would like to reiterate that the below checklist is only a guideline towards understanding if your child has an area of concern. I would urge you to consult a child psychologist or clinical psychologist if you have any concerns regarding your child’s mental and intellectual health. Please observe your child over a period of six months to see if the issues are still continuing and then you can consult your doctor. You can use the checklist below as an initial guideline to help you with your observations.

Developmental tasksExpected AgeCompleted
Walks up steps by stepping one foot on each.4 years
Picks up small objects easily4 years
Unbuttons4 years
Tells stories4 years
Speaks in completed sentences4 years
He/she knows his/her full name, age, gender4 years
Speech is intelligible 4 years
Dresses oneself4 years
Feeds self4 years
Toilet trained4 years
Gets along with other children4 years
Imitates adults doing simple tasks4 years
Build tower of ten blocks 4 years
Copies a circle4 years
Matches object to color4 years
Hops and skips on one foot5 years
Catches a ball with hands5 years
Brushes teeth5 years
Follows 3 step-commands4-5 years
Recognizes shapes5 years
Points to four colors5 years
Copies square, triangle, circle5 years

*Partially taken from the ‘Academic Problems in primary school children enrolled under SSA-Karnataka’

Speech and language milestones in Infants
Toddler Milestones
Areas of Development in Children

At InclusivEd, our endeavour is to support children through an Inclusive approach to learning. Follow us on Facebook to know more.

Areas of Development in Children

Every living being goes through stages of development and we, humans, are no different. We are continuously changing and growing right from the time of conception till death.  Our physical, cognitive and emotional aspects are gradually evolving as we grow older. Sometimes, we notice these changes and at other points, it happens without us seeing them. The measurement or understanding of these changes is what helps us understand if there are any areas of concern we need to consider especially for children. Our successful development at an adult stage is dependent on how well we are supported at childhood. Therefore the appropriate kind of support that is given to a child right from infancy is extremely important. There are of course, aspects of the developing brain that we cannot control but the kind of support that is given to ensure that successful cognitive development is taking place, is definitely under one’s control.

With the right support childs development can be taken care

I would like to focus on a few areas of development that I believe are important for young children to develop appropriately:

Physical development

Refers to the growth of one’s bone structure, muscles and other parts of the body. The body naturally develops but is influenced by factors of nutrition, race, culture, parental health and economic background. Strong physical development is affected by the kind of food intake, the background of the child and his/her family, experiences of the parents, financial background of the family and the amount of stimuli in the environment.

Motor development

Refers to the development of gross motor skills and fine motor skills. Gross motor skills involve the use of larger muscles which help in performing activities like sitting, walking, running, climbing and so on. Fine motor skills involve the use of smaller muscle groups like picking objects, writing, buttoning and so on. The development of these skills ensure that the child will be able to perform the necessary functions at the appropriate ages. The under development of these skills may lead to certain issues in academics as well as the social environment.

Cognitive development

Looks at the development of the quality and quantity of mental activities like perception, thinking, judgment, reasoning, problem solving and so on. There are many psychological theories that explain the different stages of cognitive development which can be addressed specifically later. It is important to understand the stages of cognitive development to appropriately support the child in order for him/her to be successful in academics as well as social situations.

Emotional development

Refers to the changes in the child’s emotions expressed and managed in a variety of situations. Emotions mobilizes the organism’s resources and energizes it to meet emergency situations. A child may or may not be able to accurately express their emotions and most of the time; it is expressed in the form of behavior. This form of expression is what causes a rift between parent and child as neither is able to understand the other. Children can suffer from emotional challenges which affect their overall social skills and relationships with people.

Social development

Deals with the changes in behavior that a child may go through due to the influence and expectations of society. The child is ‘socialised’ into performing various functions appropriately like for example, the stereotyping of boys and girls in terms of their behavior, emotional expression, roles in situations and so on. This form of development helps the child understand what is appropriate behavior when in a social situation and helps him/her to develop various societal attitudes. Play is an important medium for social development in children. It is a voluntary activity that allows the child to engage in without thinking about the results. When you allow your child to engage in various play activities, it gives them a platform to use their imagination and also develop certain cognitive faculties.

Speech and language milestones in Infants
Toddler Milestones

At InclusivEd, our endeavour is to support children through an Inclusive approach to learning. Follow us on Facebook to know more.

Toddler Milestones

Development is a journey where each child moves forward in a series of steps. Early milestones are important when one is assessing a child for any areas of concern and their achievement holds true even when the child is older. I would like to continue from my earlier post on infant development and the milestones to look out for. These milestones are guidelines to help you observe your child as he/she goes through these stages or even if you have an older child and they have not successfully completed these stages. Please use the below checklist as a way of understanding whether there is a need for a further evaluation of your child’s cognitive, motor, social and emotional skills. It is always best to consult a pediatrician or a clinical psychologist for further assessment.

We are now going to look at the major developmental tasks and speech milestones in the toddler phase. Do not worry if your child has not completed one or two tasks but look at the overall picture of his/her development. Please use the below checklist only as a guideline to observe your child and if you find any concerns, do visit your doctor today.

Developmental tasks Expected age Completed
Walks well without support 2 -3 years  
Carries toy while walking 2-3 years  
Squats to pick up a toy 13 – 18 months  
Recognizes self in the mirror 2-3 years  
Stacks two objects or blocks 13-18 months  
Refers to self by name 2-3 years  
Feeds self using a spoon or own hands 2-3 years  
Drinks from glass unassisted 2-3 years  
Occupies self in play 2-3 years  
Goes up on steps using two feet at a time 3 years  
Walks on tiptoe 3 years  
Runs easily 3 years  
Unwraps candy 3 years  
Pulls off socks as part of undressing 3 years  
Helps adults put away toys when asked 3 years  
Turns pages one at a time 3 years  

*Table taken from the “Academic Problems in primary school children enrolled under SSA-Karnataka”

Speech and language milestones in the toddler phase:

Expected Age Receptive language Expressive language Completed
Follows 1-step
without gesture
Points to 1 body part; Immature
jargoning; Can say up to 5 words
Point to 1
Points to 3 body
parts and to self
Mature jargoning; Up to 25 words;
Giant words: “all gone, thank-you”
Begins to
Follows 2 step
Points to 5-10
Up to 50 words;
2-word sentences;
Early telegraphic speech,
for example: “Give water”, “Want mama”
Understands “just one”;
Points to parts
of pictures
Uses pronouns appropriately;
uses plural words;
speech is 50% intelligible
3 years Knows opposites;
follows 2
250+ words;
3-word sentences;
Answers “what” and “where” questions;
speech is 75% intelligible

At InclusivEd, our endeavour is to support children through an Inclusive approach to learning. Follow us on Facebook to know more.

Children Develop in Similar but Different Ways

Development in humans happens slowly and progressively over different age groups. Development is a journey. It is not a competition. Development occurs in different areas – physical, motor, cognitive, emotional and social. As we develop most of these areas during our early years, it is far more important than adolescent or later development. 

Development in Children

While there are developmental milestones, children may develop differently and may not truly follow the same recommended stages. However, this is not to say that a child must be left to their own device. As a parent, it is important to look for any delays that you may feel warrant a closer look. There is never any harm in getting advice for your child’s physical and mental health. 

Developmental Tasks in Infants

Developmental Tasks

Now, let’s take a look at the overall developmental tasks and the specific speech and language milestones that infants are expected to perform. The below tasks are some of the expected behaviours that infants should be able to perform. However, it is always advisable to consult your pediatrician about any concerns you may have. 

You can use the below table to identify if you child has completed these developmental tasks. But, do not worry if they haven’t. Some children can develop slower than others. However, it is important to keep observing their developmental behaviours.  

Developmental tasks Expected age Completed
Rolls from stomach to back 0-6 months  
Reaches for a toy 0-6 months  
Transfers toy from one hand to another 0-6 months  
Looks for noises made near him/her 0-6 months  
Makes sounds for specific reasons like hunger or toilet 0-6 months  
Helps hold bottle after drinking 0-6 months  
Plays with toes 0-6 months  
Pats mirror image 0-6 months  
Puts everything into his/her mouth 0-6 months  
Follows toys when held in front of eyes and moved 0-6 months  
Sits without support 6-12 months  
Pulls to standing position 6-12 months  
Crawls on fours 6-12 months  
Feeds self a biscuit 6-12 months  
Turns pages off a book 6-12 months  

*Taken from Academic problems in primary school children enrolled under SSA-Karnataka (All India Institute of Speech and Hearing, Mysore)

Speech and Language Milestones

Expected Age Receptive language Expressive language Completed
0-3 months Alerts to voice Cries; social smile; coos  
4-6 months Responds to voice; name Laughs out loud; Clicks tongue;
Begins babbling
7-9 months Turns head toward sound Says names for mother and father
10-12 months Enjoys “peek a boo”;
Understand no;
Follows 1 step command
with gesture
Says ‘ma’ and ‘dada’ appropriately;
Waves bye-bye; Begins to gesture;
Shakes head no;
1st word other than ‘mama/dada’

The opinions expressed here are that of the Author

At InclusivEd, our endeavour is to support children through an Inclusive approach to learning. Follow us on Facebook to know more.

Importance of Early Intervention

Ask any architect, and they will tell you the importance of a strong foundation. Once the foundation is in place and the supports are provided, a beautiful house can be built. Likewise, the early years of your child are of paramount importance, especially if they are at risk or have special needs. With the right support, focus and professional guidance, any child can be enabled to build a beautiful life. Early Intervention is required to ensure the child receives this support.

What is Early Intervention?

Fortunately, the world is moving ahead in the space of inclusion and there is a lot more awareness that children with special needs require support from the beginning. Therefore, early diagnosis and intervention is of utmost importance.

Early intervention is defined as a group of strategies that provide adequate support to children with additional support needs as well as to their families and caregivers. To put it simply, these strategies ensure that your child is able to cope better as they grow.

Child and Parent - Early Intervention

The relationship between the child and teacher

Ideally, early intervention can start only after diagnosis, which can be done only after your child has turned 4 or 5 years old. During their early years, children spend a majority of their waking hours with their teachers. Often, we undermine the importance of our pre-school and kindergarten teachers. However, in case of early intervention, there are pivotal to the child’s success.

The Problem

Teachers are the ones creating the foundation for all children to grow and succeed. Hence, they should be given training in identification of children with additional support needs. They should be included in creating the curriculum and designing the syllabus. They are the core of the development of a child with additional needs and they must have the resources to ensure they can be productive.

Unfortunately, the importance of these teachers is being undervalued both by schools as well as parents. Schools need to start looking at primary teachers more favourably and parents need to recognise the impact these teachers have on their child’s life. If the teacher at the kindergarten does not teach a child the alphabets, it is that much harder for them to cope when they reach higher grades. For a child with additional needs, a teacher’s support could mean the difference of whether they would be able to cope, feel included and excel in our society.

Early diagnosis, intervention and a teacher’s role in this process must be given more attention. Otherwise, we all fail in supporting a child when they require it the most.

The Opinions expressed are that of the Author

At InclusivEd, our endeavour is to support children through an Inclusive approach to learning. Follow us on Facebook to know more.