Shereen Idiculla on a Roll with Oral Placement Therapy
Shereen Idiculla on a Roll with Oral Placement Therapy
Shereen Idiculla 14 years of practice, India’s First Speech Language Therapist to complete Level 3 Oral Placement Therapy, Hanen Certified, Director of Clinical Services at PlayStreet Specially Abled Educare Trust, Co-founder and Director of KidsStreet, a keen learner and a compassionate personality, Shereen Idiculla with all this and more is a power package!
She is on our ‘Wall of Fame‘ for this month.
Hi. I’m Shereen Idiculla and I am a Speech and Language Therapist.
I finished my Master’s program at the All India Institute of Speech and Hearing or AIISH in 2004. Experience over 14 years has helped me become the person I am today with the children I work with, be it to stimulate language naturally using Hanen strategies or build the oral Sensory and motor skills using Oral Placement Therapy. I am a Hanen Certified Therapist for both the “More Than Words” and the “It Takes Two To Talk” programs. I am also a Level 3 Oral Placement Therapist and currently the only level 3 therapist in India. I am the Director of Clinical Services at PlayStreet Specially Abled Educare Trust, as well as the Co-founder and Director of an inclusive preschool called KidStreet in Bangalore.
I run many online programs to help parents across the world who don’t have access to good guidance, on different aspects related to their child’s development like their language, their cognitive development, feeding issues, poor chewing skills, food sensitivities, poor speech production or speech clarity, the need for AAC (Alternative and Augmentative Communication) etc.
What is your typical day at work?
Instead of talking about my day, I think it would be better to talk about my week. I travel between the 2 centres, PlayStreet and KidStreet as well as see some clients privately at home. Being at the centres would involve guiding or mentoring the other therapists who work with me, having discussions about the children in the school or clinical programs or addressing concerns therapists or parents may have regarding the many programs we run. Being at home would involve educational webinars for my clients’ parents, analysing videos sent in by them and online meetings to discuss the program. That would be a typical week!
What has been your most memorable experience while working in the field of Speech-Language Pathology?
Having a child connect with you after rejecting any kind of interaction with you or other people, seeing the improvement week by week, having parents come back to you excitedly after something worked for them when working with their child at home…. the list is endless. But, as cliche as it may sound, it is these moments that make me feel happy about my profession and my passion when working with children, and what motivates me like nothing else can.
You are the first SLP in India to get certified on Oral Placement Therapy. Tell us about your experience on doing these courses. Are they useful?
My OPT journey started more than a decade ago in Singapore when I was still a newbie at work. I had heard of Sara’s technique and had an opportunity to talk to one of my colleagues about the program that she had attended and how it had benefited her as a speech therapist. When I finally got an opportunity to learn more about this program in 2010, it was an eye-opener and there was no looking back after that!
I had been certified for Hanen’s It Takes Two To Talk Program, but making a child verbal when their speech was unclear was something I wasn’t having much success with. It was when I started my journey with Oral Placement Therapy that I realized that there was a chunk of information that was missing from my therapy approach.
It took me a while to put the information I learned from the courses conducted by Sara Rosenfeld-Johnson, Lori Overland and Renee Roy Hill into perspective and gradually make it a part of my regular speech therapy sessions. Even when I completed my Level 3 certification, I realised there was still so much to learn. However, now when children come to me, I can figure out why ‘speech’ hasn’t developed or why the child is facing feeding issues, and convince parents that working on feeding issues will help the child develop speech and work towards speech in a non-traditional but effective way.
Tell us about your journey with PlayStreet –
My journey with PlayStreet started before PlayStreet actually started 🙂 I got introduced to the Founder, Mini Dwivedi Gopinathan, through her wonderful son, Dyutit. It was because of him that PlayStreet took off and we were able to help so many families. He is our inspiration and teacher when it comes to anything related to Autism. PlayStreet started 6 years ago all because a parent wanted to help more parents get the services they needed under one roof, without travelling to a million places! It started with a vision to empower parents so that they could learn to be their child’s advocate and believe in their children so that their children could find their true voice.
We have developed our own AAC software called “PlayTalk” which is a free software that has been developed for the Android platform. Instead of just using this as just any AAC software, we created a structured program that goes with it that helps a child develop his language and communication in a naturalistic manner. It has been an amazing journey – a journey that helped us discover our children’s voices and helped them gain confidence in the classrooms and in their everyday environments. The children learnt to become more spontaneous and happier communicators.
Who is your biggest inspiration
It might sound cliched, but that would be the children and the parents I have had the pleasure to work with over 13 years. They face so many challenges from the people and environment around them, and yet they keep moving ahead. Inspiration to try out new activities, techniques, approaches, etc… it all stems from wanting to solve a problem.. a problem the child or the parent might be facing.
What according to you are the growth prospects of being an SLP in India?
SLPs are in great demand wherever we go. The prospects are endless as now we have access to more information, more workshops, international certifications, etc. But SLPs also need to understand that they need to keep upgrading their knowledge constantly and that they cannot continue to only do traditional methods of therapy. With Google at our fingertips, parents have access to a lot of information before starting a speech therapy session. Therapists need to keep up so that they grow professionally and improve their own prospects.
Your advice for young people pursuing Speech-Language Pathology/Audiology as a career
Keep learning, never stop. Rationalize your approaches, don’t blindly follow. Learn how to break things down for the clients you work with. Don’t be boring, educate yourself, try out new things and keep your interactions with your clients fun. Enjoy your work!
1SpecialPlace aims to inspire budding Speech Langauge Therapists and Audiologists through this feature of Wall of Fame. We congratulate Mrs Shereen on her success and wish her good luck in her future endeavours! You can connect with Shereen here.
If you wish to know more about Speech Therapy, kindly contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
For more ideas check out our other blogs https://1specialplace.com/news/
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