About Us

Fernandez Child
Development Centre

Fernandez Child Development Centre is one of India’s most comprehensive holistic centres for children with special needs. The Centre has been set up by Fernandez Foundation in collaboration with the Divi’s Foundation for Gifted Children (both not-for-profit organisations) and provides children with a full range of therapeutic and developmental support, along with ancillary therapies and services.

Globally, about 200 million children do not reach their developmental potential in the first five years because of poverty, poor health, nutrition and lack of early stimulation. Disabilities and disorders affect at least 10 percent of the development in children, many of whom can be helped through early therapeutic interventions.

We believe in individually looking into each child’s treatment according to their developmental needs. This is done through a cohesive team approach which helps decrease the number of visits needed for other specialities. Our goal is to ensure that each child develops into a self-reliant, productive adult, who leads a life of dignity and respect.

Vision

A world in which children with special needs recognise their abilities.

Mission

To nurture children with special needs in a safe, inclusive and supportive environment, which will enable them to function with dignity at their highest potential.

Divi's Foundation for Gifted Children

Divi’s Foundation for Gifted Children (DFGC) was founded in 2015 with the goal of improving awareness, quality of assessment and care provided in the field of autism in India. DFGC works towards a child’s holistic development and inclusiveness in all aspects of their life.

Fernandez Foundation

Fernandez Foundation is a not-for-profit healthcare organisation committed to equitable and respectful care for women and children and is the parent organisation to Fernandez Hospitals, Fernandez Outpatient Clinics, Stork Home and Fernandez Child Development Centre.

Meet Our Team

PRIYANKA MUSALAY

 Head of Operations

DR. DEDEEPYA PUSKUR

Developmental Paediatrician and Clinical Head

Nisha Printer

I-Can India Hub Coordinator

B. CHAKRAVARTHY

Lead Physiotherapist and
Early Interventionist

DR. LATHA SASHI

Head of Clinical Nutrition
and Dietetics

DR. E. MADHAVI

Clinical Psychologist and Behavioural Therapist

K. CELESTIAL LYDIA

Speech and Language Therapist

RIDIMA

Head of Occupational Therapy

DR. RAVIKANTH

Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist

G. JYOTI

Yoga Therapist

RAFIA AHMED

Senior Occupational Therapist

SALEEMUNNISA

Remedial Therapist
and Special Educator

K. SANDHYA VARUDHINI

Head of Audiology

SHABEENA FERNANDES

Head of Speech and
Language Therapy

SIVA PRIYA

Physiotherapist

DIPA PRIYA PRASAD

Occupational Therapist

K. KARUNIKA

Speech and Language Therapist

POONAM KHAPARDE

Remedial Therapist and
Special Educator

G. KUSUMA KUMARI

Speech and Language Therapist

Coordination Team

M. SANDESH

Senior Executive

M. VASUNDHARA

Coordinator

1 in 59 Children
Fit in The Criteria For Autism Spectrum Disorder

April is Autism Awareness Month
Source: Center for Disease Control and Prevention

PRIYANKA MUSALAY

Head of Operations

Priyanka Musalay is an Organizational Psychologist who has spent her career engaging with young people in developing their skills to work as a team. She has a specialization in Human Resource Management and is a certified Six Sigma Green belt. She is also a counsellor, a certified Motor Skills Learning Coach from the Motor Skills Learning Academy, Switzerland, and a certified Therapeutic Art Life coach.

Prior to Fernandez, Priyanka worked as a faculty member at St. Francis College for Women, as well as served as a Coordinator for the American Corner and PG Diploma Psychology Counseling Skills course. She was also a Project Manager for a specialized course on Safeguarding Children and Vulnerable Adults in collaboration with the Pontifical Gregorian University, Rome, and St. Francis College.

As part of her leadership roles she has delivered several training interventions that included outbound training and community outreach programs, programs on stress management, personal branding, time management, Interpersonal Relations, Social Skills, Communication skills and Organization citizenship behavior.

DR. DEDEEPYA PUSKUR

Developmental Paediatrician and Clinical Head

Dr Dedeepya completed her MD in Paediatrics and her Fellowship in Development and Behaviour Paediatrics from SRIHER, Chennai. Her interest lies in the field of early detection and early intervention of global development concerns.

While working with Neurology in her previous stint, she felt that there is a lacuna in the Development Sector and believes that she can contribute to this sector and become part of this change. Heading the clinical team in FCDC, her focus will be on existing concerns in physical/mental development, educating and counselling parents in early detection & intervention and providing suitable treatment options and follow through.

Nisha Printer

I-Can India Hub Coordinator

With over 30 years of experience, Nisha’s professional career has been primarily as a Clinical Therapist in the areas of Rehabilitation and Counselling in India and the UK. As Head of the Rehabilitation Department at HOSMAT Hospital, Bengaluru, and Deputy Director of the Indian arm of Action on Disability & Development, a U.K-based NGO, she has acquired experience in strategic planning and managing rehabilitation programs in the healthcare and social service sectors. She has completed her Master’s in Applications of Psychology from the University of Wolverhampton, UK, and is a certified counselor. Nisha set up the Fernandez Child Development Centre, Hyderabad, and now provides Program Development and Strategic Planning for the same. She is also the Coordinator for the Indo-Canadian Autism Program at Fernandez CDC.

CHAKRAVARTHY B

In charge Physiotherapist and Early Intervention Therapist

Chakaravarthy B has over 11 years of experience. He completed his bachelors in Physiotherapy and a postgraduate diploma in early intervention for special needs from the National Institute for the Mentally Handicapped (NIMH). He also obtained a master’s degree in Psychology from S.V. University. He is experienced in treating children with Cerebral Palsy, Down Syndrome, and developmental delays. One of his core areas of specialization is working with children who are autistic and have learning disabilities.

Chakravarthy has been a training resource for many programs in NIMH and has also trained special educators of SSA on early intervention. He was a key member of a core group charged with training grass-root special educators in government agencies on the identification and management of disabilities. He has a keen interest in in designing cost-effective aids for children.

DR. LATHA SASHI

Head of Clinical Nutrition and Dietetics

Latha has over 18 years of clinical practice. She also teaches post-graduate students and serves as a research guide to PhD scholars.

Latha was selected for the Young Scientist Award by the Nutrition Society of India in 1997. She has earned  recognition at the National and International Fora, and has established herself in the academic circles as a passionate researcher.  She is a nominated member on the Board of PG Studies, Anwar Uloom College and Women’s College, Koti, Osmania University.  She has contributed immensely towards raising awareness on Diet and Nutrition as a panelist for various TV channels and print media, and her articles appear regularly in leading publications.

Dr. E Madhavi

Clinical Psychologist and Behaviour Therapist

Dr.E.Madhavi is a licensed Clinical Psychologist with the added expertise of a  Speech therapist and  Special Educator from the Rehabilitation Council of India (RCI). She obtained a Diploma in Communication Disorders from Ali Yavar Jung National Institute of Speech and Hearing, a B.Ed. in special education (Hearing Impairment) from Andhra Mahila Sabha, Osmania University, a Professional Diploma in Clinical Psychology from Sweekar Academy of Rehabilitation Sciences, Hyderabad and a Ph.D. from SV University, Tirupati. Madhavi has over 20 years of experience in working with children and adolescents with developmental, behavioural and academic difficulties. Her core areas of expertise are psychological assessment and diagnosis of children with developmental disabilities such as Intellectual Disability, Autism Spectrum Disorders, ADHD & Specific Learning Difficulties, Interventions & Behaviour Modification and  Assessment & intervention of adults with mental disorders.

She has presented 11 papers at National and International conferences and received the best paper award for her presentation on Autism. She published 8 articles in National and International Publications.

Madhavi has conducted training programs for upcoming psychologists on assessments, counselling skills and has trained around 5000 software employees on stress and time managements. She has also conducted training programs for parents of children with special needs on behaviour modification techniques, speech and language stimulation, auditory training and special education.

K CELESTIAL LYDIA

Speech and Language Therapist

Lydia, has a specialization in Speech  Language Pathology from All India Institute of Speech and Hearing (AIISH), Mysuru. Pediatric population is one of her main interests. Her experience as a Speech therapist in Rajendra Institute of  Medical Sciences (RIMS), Ranchi and a posting at Niloufer Hospital, Hyderabad widens the range of cases observed in children with multiple disabilities. She is energetic and passionate towards her work.  Lydia, has completed Level ’A’ in Indian Sign Language and has Bachelor’s in Audiology and Speech language Pathology from Ali Yavar Jung National Institute of Speech & Hearing Disabilities (Divyangjan)-SRC.

RIDIMA

Head of Occupational Therapy

Ridima obtained her master’s degree from Manipal University and is certified in Brain Gym and
Handwriting Without Tears. She has extensive experience in working with children with special
needs and her innovative therapy approaches have brought her many awards.

She brings with her over 10 years of work experience.

DR. RAVIKANTH

Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist

Dr Ravikanth Tangella has 9 years of experience in various government and private psychiatric institutions. He has completed his super-specialization from PGIMER, Chandigarh and trained with the National Institute of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (NIEPID) and National Institute of Mental Health and Neurological Sciences (NIMHANS), Bangalore. He exclusively focuses on children and adolescents with mental health needs. His areas of expertise are Autism, ADHD, Learning Difficulties, Behavioural problems, Childhood-onset Mental Health Issues, Preventive and Promotive Child Mental Health. He is a visiting consultant at several child development centres and children’s hospitals across the twin cities.

G. Jyoti

Yoga Therapist

Jyoti has completed her training from Vivekananda Institute, Bengaluru and Yocures Yoga Institute, Hyderabad. She also has a certificate from Prafull Oorja Yoga for Special Needs Children, Bengaluru. She is a passionate yoga instructor with over 15 years of training experience. Besides providing assistance to children with special needs she also conducts yoga classes for an MNC in Hyderabad.

RAFIA AHMED

Senior Occupational Therapist

Rafia Ahmed obtained her master’s degree in Occupational Therapy, specializing in Orthopaedics. Rafia has worked extensively with children with different learning disabilities, sensory processing disorders, ASD and down syndrome. Her work includes programs such as forming groups of children with multiple disabilities to help them enhance their social interaction and designing economically viable tools for children with learning disabilities to use at home. Her focus of interest lies in enabling a child to become functionally independent in society.

SALEEM UNNISA

Remedial Therapist and Special Educator

Saleem Unnisa has 22 years of experience in education of which 7 years are in the field of special
needs. Saleem has worked in the United States, with Savannah Chatham County as a special
educator, and in India. She was the Head of the Department for Special Needs in Meridian School,
Hyderabad and is experienced in handling students with diverse developmental needs which include
autism spectrum disorders (ASD), dyslexic SLD and hyperactivity, and developmental delays in the
age group of 2.5 to 19 years. Saleem holds master’s degrees in Education, Psychology and English, a
diploma in LD and B.Ed in Special needs (MR).

SANDHYA VARUDHINI

Head of Audiology

Sandhya graduated from Manipal University with a Bachelor’s in Audiology and Speech Language Pathology and obtained her Master’s in Audiology and Speech Language Pathology from Osmania University. She has over 9 years of experience in teaching, training, and research in audiology. She has worked as an audiologist in several hospitals and hearing aid clinics. She specializes in infant and pediatric assessment, middle ear testing, childhood hearing screening, auditory cortical potentials, and vestibular testing. She was a resource person at NISHD and is particularly interested in Special Pediatric Populations, Auditory Processing Disorders, Educational Audiology, Family Centered Care and Cochlear Implant technology.

SHABEENA FERNANDES

Head of Speech and Language Therapy

Shabeena Fernandes has over 18 years’ experience in both clinical practice and academia. She completed her Master’s in Audiology and Speech & Language from Ali Yavar Jung National Institute of Speech and Hearing Disabilities (Divyangjan), Mumbai. She has also trained in Autism Spectrum Disorder for Coordinators of DSE, Makaton Sign Language and the Infant Program. Shabeena’s area of expertise are in motor speech disorders, articulation, phonological disorders, and fluency.

She has been a guest faculty at Ali Yavar Jung National Institute of Speech and Hearing Disabilities for over 16 years, for both their bachelor’s and master’s courses.

SIVA PRIYA

Physiotherapist

Sivapriya completed her Masters in Orthopaedic Physiotherapy and is a certified manual therapist. She has trained in PNF techniques, Hand Therapy and Sensory Integration, and has also specialized in post-surgical splints.

Sivapriya has worked with children who have developmental delays, paediatric orthopaedic conditions and children in the Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). She is passionate about working with children with multiple disabilities and designing specialized programs for them.

DIPA PRIYA PRASAD

Occupational Therapist

Dipa Priya Prasad completed her Master’s in Occupational Therapy (Orthopedics) from the National Institute of Locomotor Disabilities (Divyangjan), Kolkata. Dipa has also undertaken courses like Continuing Occupational Therapy Education [COTE] on ‘Sensory Integration: Occupational Therapy Perspective,’ NILD, Kolkata. As an occupational therapist, she has conducted various evaluations to identify clients’ specific needs to devise individualized rehabilitation plans.

K KARUNIKA