Aruna Agarwal, a Qualified Child Psychologist/behavior Therapist

Aruna Agarwal

Interview with Aruna Agarwal, a qualified child psychologist/behavior therapist

Aruna Agarwal is the owner of Kidzee (Pre-primary) & Mount Litera Zee School (Primary) Powai and a qualified child psychologist/behavior therapist – ABA and Access Consciousness practitioner with masters in psychology.

She runs a social trust named Viola that delivers high-quality education for primary school students. Currently, her educational facility works as a one-stop solution for children between 2 and 10 years of age who face challenges related to behavior, language development, or attention issues. She plans to gradually expand the awareness and integration to high school and above.

Aruna is an optimist; according to her, self-belief can give people the ability to handle any situation. Her excellent work in education and child psychology has driven constant word-of-mouth publicity for her school and other initiatives.

She overcame human resources and capital challenges during her entrepreneurial journey through her self-belief and commitment to the grand vision.

Tell us a little about yourself

Aruna Agarwal: I have done my Masters in Psychology (Behaviour Analysis). I am also a Certified Access Consciousness Practitioner and use various mindfulness practices in my interactions with clients and little children.

My journey started in 2004 when I opened the first center for Kidzee, a Model Centre for the chain with over 2000 centers across India. My family includes my husband, mom-in-law, and two well-educated sons pursuing their careers.

Please tell us a little about your entrepreneurial journey

Aruna Agarwal: I was always keen to do something extraordinary. I welcome innovative ideas and leverage the power of learning continuously.

My professional journey of the last 20 years has been full of ups and downs and incredible learning opportunities.

I have cultivated the habit of constantly learning new things and upgrading my skills. Instead of hustling, I believe in exploring options and making steady progress leading to winning outcomes.

Tell us a little about ” Viola.”

Aruna Agarwal: While my journey has been with Kidzee since the start, I constantly felt that more could be done. When the pandemic affected children, and they were exposed to additional stress and anxiety, I decided to create something more exclusive for the preschool kids and other children, and that’s where Viola was launched.

Viola Educational Foundation Trust has not only been helping children with neurotic issues. It has also expanded the support to many other people to make as much social impact as possible.

How do you help children who have anxiety?

Aruna Agarwal: Anxiety manifests typically when you cannot accept and try to escape the situation. Whenever any child and parents come to me, I first tell them to ensure they face the scenario and focus on making the child absolutely comfortable at our school.

We build a rapport with the child, making them comfortable and happy with the surroundings. Once that rapport is established, we start working with them.

What are some common therapies for children with anxiety?

Aruna Agarwal: One of the most frequently used therapies I rely on is the Applied Behavioural Analysis (ABA) principle.

I also use mindfulness concepts such as the ‘accept and commitment theories,’ which require us to accept the situation and then find solutions accordingly.

I also use different modalities with the parents, such as Access Consciousness, to help them become more aware and conscious of their child’s needs. 

What are some tips for parents of anxious children?

Aruna Agarwal: The first and foremost thing for any parent is to stay calm and relaxed about it. Every child receives settled over time with the right approach.

When the parents control their emotions, the children find it easier to settle down. Set small goals for your child, and when you are at ease and acknowledge even minor changes and progress, talk about those changes, and feel grateful towards the caregivers, the improvement is even faster.

I constantly make young parents understand that their apprehensions impact their children’s psychology.

The key for parents is to maintain control of their emotions and display patience even when the children’s progress seems slow.

How do you know if a child’s anxiety is normal or something more? What are some red flags that a child’s anxiety may be something more serious?

Aruna Agarwal: The prominent red flags include speech issues or a hyperactive child. The child might not make eye contact, not respond to their name, and display very low sitting tolerance.

These are some of the red flags, and the children having anxiety issues also find it difficult to adjust to the classroom environment or engage with social groups.

Often it is wrongly assumed that these are simple problems and that the child will outgrow them. However, that doesn’t happen, and we must be cautious about these challenges.

The key is to avoid being shy or covering up the problem. Parents need to accept the situation and consult either a developmental pediatrician, a clinical psychologist, or a behavioral analyst to understand the challenge and how the child needs to be worked with.

The support must continue until the child has developed good faculties in terms of speech and behavior etc.

What have been some of your failures, and what have you learned from them?

Aruna Agarwal: My field of work is very challenging. Since we have to deal with human capital and constantly engage parents and their children, it requires delicate handling of emotional, financial, and social aspects related to the families.

While I have always been a pioneer and gone the extra mile to deliver the best experience and outcomes, some failures are inevitable.

However, I don’t see my failures as a setback and believe in learning from them so that the next effort can continually improve.

I have learned to be patient and flexible and continuously focus on improving my knowledge and skills during the 20 years of my professional work.

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