Indira Bodani – The Gateway School of Mumbai – Ashoka Changemaker School
Indira Bodani, is the founder of The Gateway School of Mumbai. Born and brought up in Mumbai and an alumnus of Green Lawns School and St. Xavier’s College, she did a course in Early Childhood Care and Education and worked at SPJ Sadhana School, a well-renowned school for children with special needs in Mumbai. In hindsight, she believes, that job was preparing her for becoming a mom of a child with special needs.
Her older son is a child with learning challenges, sensory processing disorder and language difficulties. He currently studies at The Gateway School of Mumbai. Her younger son is a loving and sensitive child who is extremely supportive of his older brother and his parents. She proudly mentions, her husband is the pillar of her strength. With the generous support of the extended family, she established The Gateway School of Mumbai in 2012.
What inspired her to set up this school?
Recalling the past she said, the inspiration to set-up a world-class special needs school in Mumbai came through her own personal experience with her son. He was diagnosed with global developmental delays and mental retardation when he was two years old. Having heard about therapies and the hope that it holds, they moved to the US and with the help of well-renowned experts in the field of special education, therapy and with their support he made some amazing gains. When they moved back to India, they were very disheartened to learn that the gap between what was available in Mumbai and the quality of services he had received in the US was huge. The Gateway School of Mumbai was established to reach out and provide support to families of kids with special needs by giving them access to the same quality of services her son was so fortunate to receive in the US.
When asked about the strategies for teaching students with learning challenges, she explained about the methodology in detail- “At Gateway, we use a strength-based approach to teaching. We firmly believe that each individual comes to the table with strengths and it is these strengths that can be harnessed to help a child work on their areas of need. We use an observation- and data-based teaching method instead of the ‘one-size-fits-all’ model. We document our observations of what a child is doing, and use this information along with our knowledge of the child to understand how the child learns, and then tailor and individualize our educational practices accordingly. We view the child holistically starting with their body, then move on to social-emotional and language, along with the child’s academic strengths and needs.
In order to do this, all of the professionals working with the child (i.e. special educators, occupational therapists, physical therapists, counselors, speech therapists, arts and movement teachers, etc.) periodically meet to discuss the child’s overall development and identify individualized strategies that can be used to support the child. We focus on the body and mind connect, and how a child’s social emotional development directly impacts academic learning.”
“Once Gateway identifies the child is getting benefitted by their programs but the family cannot afford the fee, they offer the child a need-based scholarship. Gateway does its due diligence and then identifies donors to support those families that may not be able to afford the tuition fee. Gateway has never turned away a family due to their inability to pay the annual fee.”
The Gateway School of Mumbai
Sion Trombay Road,
OppDeonar Bus depot,
BS Devashi Marg,
Mumbai- 400088 #25563613/14