Ummeed’s Developmental Pediatricians team has highly skilled and committed pediatricians with specialized training and experience in child development and disabilities.
They offer pediatric assessment and consultation services and support families in identifying their child’s strengths and challenges, as well as in making informed decisions about treatment and therapy options. Apart from supporting children and families, they are mentors, listeners, readers, and thinkers!
The team believes in family-centered care and creates opportunities for active engagement and collaboration with families during the session. When not organizing activities for children, they are dancers, busy elves, singers, and artists!
The eCDD team partners with community-based organizations working in maternal and child health to implement Ummeed’s eCDD program, which trains community health workers and their supervisors to better monitor and address issues in child development.
Comprised of professionals from diverse academic backgrounds and training, the team shares an interest in working in the space of community based programs related to early childhood development. When not promoting maternal and child health, they are early birds, didis, and prevention experts!
The Mental Health team engages in therapeutic conversations with children, young people and families responding to developmental disabilities, anxiety, depression, and the effects of life situations such as a death in the family, school-related difficulties, bullying,
trauma, etc. using the narrative approach to counseling. The team is also actively involved in training parents, professionals, community workers and teachers in the use of narrative ideas and practices in diverse contexts. Aside from promoting mental health, they are storytellers, mythbusters, and influencers!
The Occupational Therapy team works with children of all ages and abilities to help them participate in activities that help them learn, enjoy and develop life skills. They develop individualized treatment plans in collaboration
with families based on the family’s priorities, child's strengths and challenges, knowledge of typical development and the environmental context. This team has learned and acquired best practices for children with developmental disabilities that they also disseminate to parents, occupational therapists, teachers, and community workers. When not working with children, they are gaming specialists, explorers, and inventors!
The Remedial Therapy team supports children with learning difficulties and disabilities of all ages to strengthen their academic areas of underachievement and helps them achieve a higher level of success and self confidence in their school and community.
The remedial sessions cover diverse areas such as language, reading, math, writing and processing skills through individual sessions, school and home programs. In addition to building children’s self-confidence, they are optimists, hand holders, and guides!
For the School Outreach team, inclusion involves the education of all children - not just children with special needs - by addressing the barriers to learning, building resources to support learning and participation, and
responding to the diverse needs of every child. The School Outreach team works with schools (both private and government) to aid in developing inclusive cultures and translating inclusive policies to practice. When not promoting inclusion, they are anti-bully squads and influencers!
The Social Work team at Ummeed works closely with families to assist them in understanding and navigating the larger intervention system to ensure that they receive appropriate care and services.
Through workshops such as ‘Know Your Rights’, they introduce families of children with developmental disabilities to their rights, as well as those of their children. In addition to empowering families and children with disabilities, they are coordinators, navigators, and connectors!
The Speech and Language Therapy team at Ummeed supports children with communication problems such as articulation delays, language delays, autism, Down syndrome, learning disabilities and stuttering.
The team analyzes and corrects the mechanics of speech by working on breathing techniques, tongue placement, use of language (structuring sentences properly, formulating complete thoughts and expressing emotions), etc. When not empowering children through communication skills, they are speakers and confidence boosters!
The Testing team conducts detailed psycho-educational assessments for children between 6 to 18 years of age by gathering developmental, school performance, and family histories to supplement norm-referenced tests.
This not only helps determine whether a child has a specific learning disability, but also helps measure and understand the cognitive and achievement skills, strengths and challenges that either enhance or inhibit a child’s ability to perform to the best of his or her academic potential in school. When not addressing barriers to children’s potential, they are time-keepers and rapport builders!
In addition to ensuring smooth operations at Ummeed, they are geeks, dreamers, talent-seekers, and el dorados!
The Ummeed Management Team (UMT) is a mix of passionate, experienced individuals from diverse backgrounds (ranging from medical professionals to management experts).
This team aspires and works towards maximizing Ummeed’s social impact through cross-team participation and collaboration. The team are also captains, artists, musicians, and fashionistas!
Founder & Executive Director
Vibha founded Ummeed Child Development Center in 2001 and serves as its Executive Director. Vibha has grown Ummeed from a clinic providing integrated services to a center of excellence for clinical care, as well as a resource center in the field of developmental disabilities for professionals, families, and community organizations. Vibha’s vision is to put Ummeed at the forefront of a movement to make the inclusion of children with developmental disabilities a visible agenda for India.
Vibha has served as a resource person for the Government of India in several roles – as chairperson of the Expert Committee on Autism, Rehabilitation Council of India, as well as for the WHO (South East Asia Regional Office); as a Member of the Task Force for the Right to Education (RTE) Act constituted by Ministry of Human Resource & Development, and Department of Higher Education for educational development of persons with disabilities; and as a consultant on the Advisory Group for the Rashtriya Bal Swasthya Karyakram (RBSK) launched by the Government of India in February 2014. She is an Expert Consultant in Early Childhood Development & Disabilities for the World Health Organization (WHO) and the President-Elect for the International Developmental Pediatrics Association (IDPA).
Vibha trained in developmental pediatrics at Children’s Hospital in Boston and has practiced as a Developmental Pediatrician in India for the past 18 years. Besides her work at Ummeed, she is a consultant at Jaslok Hospital and Research Center, Mumbai.
In 2007, Vibha was honored with the Ashoka Fellowship for Social Entrepreneurs.
Chief Executive Officer
Anita, as Chief Executive Officer, works in close partnership with Vibha, to scale Ummeed’s impact and to bring the cause of Developmental Disabilities, Early Childhood Development, and inclusion to the mainstream agenda. As a volunteer prior to joining Ummeed, she helped develop standardized operating procedures and mechanisms for measuring impact of Ummeed’s training programs.
Anita completed her MD in General Medicine from Seth GS Medical College/KEM Hospital. She worked for 10 years at Quintiles Transnational (India office) in the field of clinical research, where she held various leadership positions in Learning & Development and in Operations. Anita has been with Ummeed since 2015.
Director, Autism Intervention Services & Head, Research
Koyeli is the Director of Autism Intervention Services at Ummeed. She aims to build a menu of clinical services at Ummeed that will cater to the wide range of autism-related difficulties across childhood and adolescence and to build capacity in the community to provide evidence-based, child-directed, family-centered and comprehensive autism care to children and families.
Koyeli has been instrumental in growing Ummeed’s autism services into a range of clinical services and training programs for parents and professionals, including UPPA - a unique parent mediated program culturally adapted from the evidence-based Project ImPACT, running since the last 6 years. In 2016, she led the development and implementation of AITP (Autism Intervention Training Program) – a one of its kind training program in India for professionals working with children with autism.
Koyeli is a senior member of Ummeed’s Developmental Pediatrics team. She also provides leadership to Ummeed’s Research vertical and mentors the Speech and Remedial services teams.
Koyeli is a Developmental Pediatrician with a post-graduate degree in Pediatrics and Master’s in Clinical Psychology (Eastern Illinois University, USA). She is a member of the International Society for Autism Research (INSAR) and a Resource member of Forum for Autism (FFA).
Koyeli has been with Ummeed since 2009.
Head, Information and Technology
Pervez leads Ummeed’s information & technology services team. He is confident that using IT will deliver solutions that can record, improve and scale the outcomes of Ummeed’s services.
Pervez was Ummeed’s Chief Operating Officer from 2008 to 2011 and has since contributed significantly to the design and development of Ummeed’s Early Childhood Development and Disability (eCDD) programs.
An IIT and IIM-A alumnus, his 28-year career has alternated between working for the IT and Social sectors.
Pervez has been with Ummeed since 2008.
Director, Developmental Pediatrics & Head, Clinical Services
Roopa heads Ummeed’s Clinical Services vertical. She aims to develop sustainable models of care delivery that are evidence-based and outcome-oriented for children with developmental disabilities. Roopa also leads the Developmental Pediatrics, Occupational Therapy and Social Work teams.
Roopa is the coordinator of the Indian Academy of Pediatrics accredited Fellowship program in Developmental Pediatrics at Ummeed. She was the India Project Director of an NIH-funded 5-year 4-country collaborative research project for the development and testing of the International Guide to Monitor Child Development in low and middle-income countries. She is also a consultant at Jaslok Hospital and Research Center, Mumbai.
Roopa is a Developmental Pediatrician by training. After completing her postgraduation in Pediatrics, she did her Fellowship in Developmental Pediatrics at Christian Medical College, Vellore.
Roopa has been with Ummeed since 2005.
Director, School Outreach & Senior Counselor
Shamin has played a key role in conceptualizing, building and supervising the School Outreach team at Ummeed. Her vision is to assist schools in developing inclusive environments, in order to create “safe spaces” that support children reach their maximum learning potential in both academic and social arenas.
Shamin is a senior counselor and feels passionately about working with children with disabilities (and their families), and providing them with ongoing mental health and counseling support to enable their overall journey in a positive direction. As an early and integral member of Ummeed’s Mental Health Team, she played a significant role in developing, designing and delivering the Mental Health Training Program.
Shamin has a Master’s degree (MA) in Applied Psychology from the University of Mumbai and a Master’s degree (MSED) in Psychological Services from the University of Pennsylvania.
Shamin has been with Ummeed since 2003.
Ummeed believes in leveraging the resources of other organizations to reach out to children and families. Many wonderful organizations have contributed to Ummeed's learning and have benefited from Ummeed’s training programs. Ummeed has also collaborated with organizations on both research projects and advocacy initiatives in the field of early child development and disability.
Action for Autism
Ambuja Cement Foundation
Autism Care Nepal Society
Boston Children’s Hospital
Central Society for Education of the Deaf
EAR Education and Audiology Research
Forum for Autism
Fragile X Society of India
Indian Academy of Pediatrics
Latika Roy Foundation
Mumbai Mobile Creches
Narrative Practices, Adelaide
Re-authoring Teaching, Vermont
Sahyog Chehak Trust
Santosh Institute for Mentally Challenged Children
Tara Mobile Creches
Teach For India
The Orchid School (Pune)
Yale University, Dept. of Pediatrics
Chairman of the Board and Founder
Ashish is the Chairman of Ummeed Child Development Center. Ummeed was incorporated in August 2001 and started its operations from 5th November 2001. Ashish has been an active member on the Board since its inception.
Ashish is currently President at The/Nudge Institute. He has 20 years of experience across strategy consulting and global development. Ashish focuses on using market-based solutions to drive sustainable social change. This includes multi-year programs like low-income housing where he helped develop a market which now has 26 housing finance companies who have given over USD 5 billion of mortgages to finance over 350,000 houses. He is currently leading a program at The/Nudge Institute on “Transforming Agriculture for Small Farmers”. Ashish has a Ph.D. from Stanford University, an M.S. from University of California, Berkeley, and a B.Tech from Indian Institute of Technology, Mumbai.
Arun has been on the Ummeed Board from August 2001. With his rich experience, Arun has been providing invaluable support to Ummeed’s operations right from its inception.
Arun Jethmalani is the founder and CEO of ValueNotes, which provides market and business intelligence to a variety of clients, across the world. His nearly 40-year working career spans management consulting, market research, equity research, competitive intelligence, IT services, and web publishing.
Arun has been extensively publishedin leading business journals. His weekly investment column –‘Value for Money’ –published in the Sunday Economic Times, ran for ten years. He is a regular speaker at competitive intelligence, outsourcing, technology, Internet, and finance events. He graduated with a B. Tech. from IIT Bombay and an M.S. from Duke University, NC, USA.
Merry has been on the Ummeed Board from April 2004. As an individual who has pioneered some of the most effective care for children with Autism, Merry has been a very valuable resource person to Ummeed to effectively help service children with developmental disabilities.
Merry Barua is the Founder and Director of Action for Autism, which includes a model school for Autistic children, an institution for training professionals, and an innovative mother-child program. She is also the Founder and Editor of the Autism Network.
Merry has served multiple terms on the boards of The National Trust and the World Autism Organization, currently serves on the boards of a number of organizations and is a member of several committees of the Rehabilitation Council of India, and the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities. She has a Bachelors and Masters from the University of Calcutta, has trained in the TEACCH Approach and at The Option Institute, USA and is an Ashoka Fellow.
Ujwal Thakar joined the Ummeed Board in August 2005. Ujwal is an active member on the Board and plays a significant advisory role to the organization.
Ujwal Thakar has rich and varied experience spanning the banking financial industry and the development sector in India. He is considered a doyen of retail banking in India and also one of the leaders of the movement of professionals into the social space in India.
Ujwal was the CEO of Pratham, India’s largest NGO in the elementary education space for six years and later the CEO of GiveIndia which is one of India’s web-based philanthropy platforms. Ujwal currently chairs the board of Educate Girls and is on the board of Arogya World and Shoshit Sewa Kendra, and a partner at Social Incubator NCore, and on the advisory boards of many non-profits.
Rajnish Dhall was appointed to the Board in June 2010 as Alternate Director. He was later appointed as a Director on the Board at its AGM in September 2015. Rajnish is a shareholder of Ummeed, an active member on the Board, and plays a significant role in supporting its activities.
Rajnish is the Founder and ex-CEO of Micro Housing Finance Corporation Mumbai, India. In 2008, he set up Micro Housing Finance Corporation, an organization dedicated to providing housing loans to urban low-income families-especially those from the informal sector - who are excluded by the mainstream financial system. The company, a pioneer in this space, was acquired by the Birla family in Sep 2018.
Rajnish completed his P.G.D.M from IIM (Ahmedabad), after which he worked with American Express Bank in a variety of roles and locations (Mumbai, Singapore, London) for 15 years. He left the Bank as a Senior Director in 2006 and returned to Mumbai to work in the social sector and initially joined the Aangan Trust looking after its financial, administrative, fundraising, legal and accountancy matters, and remained on the Advisory Board until recently.
The team also runs various parent and professional training programs on early social communication skills, managing challenging behaviors and preparing for puberty. When not empowering children and parents, they are bakers, pilots, special educators, counsellors, and dance teachers!