Nishtha Gupta Tells Us How She Customises ‘Hope And Happiness’ For Autistic Children
- IWB Post
- April 2, 2018
The child with autism is like a Mac in the PC world. He’s hardwired differently. Not incorrectly, just differently.~~ Ellen Notbohm
People with Autism have a huge potential, and Nishtha Gupta helps them to realize it by increasing their focus. The founder of Hope and Happiness, she fought all odds to become India’s first NGO that delivers customised products for children with Autism. To know more about this unique initiative, I called Nishtha, and this is what I found out!
How do you understand children’s needs?
Yes, every child with Autism is different. They have a different set of behavior, needs, and sensitivity. We interact with the child’s OTs (Occupational Therapists) and parents. With the help of doctors’ reports, we devise our own customised products. Our main aim is to understand the problem of a child and provide a customised solution. Sometimes we also advise parents to take therapy rather than buying our products.
You mentioned about the odds faced by Hope and Happiness.
Various NGOs refused to work with us. We had to do a lot of explanation for those who think autism is a mental retardation. It feels so sad to see parents fighting to give a better life to their children. Why are we so guarded against those with differences?
You must have witnessed some of the most amazing parent-child relationships.
Yes, so many. One family from underprivileged background had two daughters with autism. In a country, where women are fighting for their rights, daughters with autism were hard to nurture. The grinding poverty worsened the situation. The parents didn’t give up. Our organization had provided them with the products.
We even know families who had sold their entire property to provide the best of treatment to their child. So, we give away our products at zero profit to pave an easier way for such families.
Any practical advice to parents with autistic kids?
I would like to tell all parents to make computer education available for their child. Those suffering from autism are reluctant to communicate directly, so a computer is a very easy mode to communicate.
How do children react to your products?
Ohh! At first, they are not sure about it. With time, our products become their favorite toys. Parents tell us about how happy they are with our different innovations. More than a source of happiness, these products are designed to teach focus and act as a calming therapy.
Any product of Hope and Happiness that you took home?
My favorite is shoulder wrap. It is fun to hold and can be carried anywhere as a toy. It also contains aluminum which makes a sound when one plays with it. My family and friends also use it. Should I take your order? (Laughs)
Sure! What is your most unusual innovation?
Weighted blanket! It is used for natural calming effects. Like a firm hug, weighted blankets help kids feel secure, grounded and safe. It has five different textures. It is soft but strong at the same time. I am very proud of this product.
It was nice to know that Hope and Happiness employs artisans with disabilities. Any star performer?
Bunty, a polio survivor, is a hugely talented man. He has exceptional entrepreneurial skills. He has already trained many differently abled people under him. Now, he has become an employer and helps people with similar problems.
Who brings Hope and Happiness into your life?
Umm… I have a full-time job as an analyst, and it becomes very difficult to spare time for Hope and Happiness. But at night, when I close my eyes, I can see various stories that I have been part of, smiles on the children’s faces, and the love spread. It motivates me to keep on working. So, whenever my mood is down, or I am tired of life AF, I think about it.
Do you know someone who needs such beautifully customised products, guide them to Hope and Happiness, here?
This article was first published in July 2017.