This Mom has created India’s first online speech therapy platform

Pratiksha Gupta started her online venture 1specialplace, to help all those families who are based in areas where there is no speech therapy service available.

How did you get into the field of speech therapy?

I have been hugely inspired by my close family members who are deaf and use sign language to communicate. I have witnessed the struggle my family faced to find a speech therapist and a special school. Hence choosing this profession came naturally. I received my undergrad degree from AIISH, Mysore, and did my PG from University of London.

You were successfully running a clinic specializing in speech and hearing. Then what motivated you to start 1specialplace online?

After a successful work tenure in NHS in UK, I started my Speech Therapy Centre – ‘Hear n Speak’ in Noida. My husband is a fighter pilot in the Indian Air force and we move often. I had to close down Hear n Speak when we moved to another city. Since I had a huge following of clients from my work, I kept getting requests to return as my clients couldn’t find any other speech therapist who they liked. This encouraged me to start my online work. It all began in 2011. At that time, I did very basic email programs backed with phone calls. With time I graduated to more structured Online Therapy with interactive, secure & engaging Audio Video sessions. I founded 1SpecialPlace in 2014. We have come a long way from taking Skype Sessions to now using a more sophisticated Online Therapy Platform. We have emerged as India’s first Online private organisation with an interdisciplinary team. Our consultants work from home, look after their kids and are able to pursue their career at the same time.  We have a global team, with professionals based in UK, Singapore and Oman.

How parents can identify that a child may need Speech-Language Therapy?

Speech & Language develops in stages. There are some top red flags which indicate the need for Speech Therapy. The top 5 are-

  1. Child not socializing/engaging with you by 1 year.
  2. Child not producing many speech sounds by 18 months
  3. Child not joining two words together  by 2 years
  4. Child’s speech not clear/intelligible to strangers by 2.6 years
  5. Child has difficulty imitating or producing different speech sounds by 2.6 – 4 years.

How do you manage multiple roles of being a mother, a wife, and an entrepreneur?

I have been brought up with colossal affection,love and discipline. My parents are successful working individuals. I have seen how well my mom could balance work, home and family. As a Mother and Wife – I have been stretched through daily challenges and joys. And each day I am learning the perfect dance and the correct moves that make each relationship work together.

The truth of entrepreneurial life is a tornado of long hours, high risk and uncertainty. My husband is the backbone of my work life. If it was not for his unending support, I would have missed out on realising my dreams. He auto corrects me to strive at work and together we celebrate the magic moments of running  a business. My daughters know that mummy loves them, but also likes to work. So its a happy mix of being my true self and keeping my priorities sorted. My mantra is, Do what you love, and you will never work a day in your life!

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