Harsh Songra created the ‘My Child’ App when he was just 18 years old, to help parents diagnose developmental disorders in their children in just 45 seconds.
A study by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology found that by 2025, every second child born, will be autistic and every sixth child will face developmental problems. Despite these figures however, developmental issues tend to remain unaddressed and are still largely misunderstood.
Anything that escapes the boxed understanding of ‘normal’ is instantly termed ‘abnormal’ or ‘disabling,’ in a way that the product of its efforts would fail to derive the expected result. But what the society fails to realise is that there are ample ways to achieve something, even if it means that one has to take ‘the road less travelled.’ Harsh Songra is proof of this.
Harsh grew up with a developmental coordination disorder called dyspraxia, which affected his motor and cognitive abilities. He was 9 years old when he was first diagnosed.
When he was in elementary school, Harsh failed in an exam. His teacher’s reaction was to ask him, during a parent-teacher meeting, to attend a school meant for the ‘disabled.’
The teacher failed to understand that the only difference between differently-abled individuals and others lies in the fact that while one might take 4 hours to complete a certain task, another might take just two.
Unfortunately however, Harsh’s teacher is not the only one labouring under misconceptions. The need of the hour is to raise awareness and improve understanding of mental health problems, while breaking the taboo surrounding such problems. Their also needs to be greater acceptance of individuals dealing with these problems, which should be treated using therapy and not superstitious beliefs.
Not one to let his circumstances define him, Harsh turned what others might view as a weakness, into a business opportunity.
Realizing the problems faced by parents whose children faced developmental issues, Harsh created the My Child App when he was just 18 years old.
The app focusses on identifying developmental, neurological, motor and speech impairment related issues in a child, through a questionnaire. It asks for the child’s age, weight and height and then asks parents to answer a questionnaire consisting of only ‘yes’ and ‘no’ questions. The App derives the results in merely 45 seconds, the same results that took Harsh’s parents 9 years to get. It can be used for children aged between the ages of 1 to 24 months.
It is not meant to replace doctors or do their work for them, but rather, is meant to work as a point of referral as it can recommend doctors according to the child’s needs.
Harsh’s app received praise from people worldwide, with over 12,000 downloads on Google Play from 140+ countries. His work is also proof that smartphones can be used to solve real world health problems.
Harsh plans to upgrade the App with features that focus on things to take care of during pregnancy, the do’s and don’ts of parenting and a community consisting of both, parents and doctors where all parties can discuss the various issues they may face related to their child’s health.
Harsh believes that a single person can instigate a cycle of change that can slowly grow to effect others around him/ her.
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