Tell us a little bit about yourself – who you are and what you do
I am a speech pathologist with a Masters in Special Education. I have over seventeen years personal and practical experience working with children and adolescents with Emotional and Behavioural Disorders (EBD) in schools, family homes, prisons, accommodation and community settings. Individuals with challenging emotional and behavioural difficulties can be categorised into one or more of the following conditions:
- Attention deficit/Hyperactivity disorder
- Autism spectrum disorder
- Anxiety Disorder
- Oppositional Defiant Disorder
- Conduct disorder
I have seen firsthand how hard it can be for parents, teachers, support workers and other professionals to support individuals with EBD. People supporting individuals with EBD are trying their very best but are often not equipped with the necessary knowledge, skills and tools.
Over the years I have become convinced that the key to transforming the lives of individuals with EBD is to equip the people supporting them with the knowledge, skills and practical strategies to make a positive change. This has inspired me to develop Behaviour Zen, a web-based app book series and workshops that provide positive behaviour solutions.
What did you want to be when you were a child?
This probably sounds very strange but I actually did not think of a specific profession that I wanted to enter into. All I just knew was that I enjoyed helping others and lifting people up.
What are you most proud of?
I am most proud of the Behaviour Zen resources (i.e. web based app, books and workshops). I love the fact that they educate – empower – enhance and enrich the lives of people supporting individuals with EBD.
Which person inspires you the most?
Through my work every single day I am inspired by the parents, carers, educators, support workers and professionals who through their patience, perseverance, persistence and, above all, love, make a difference in their child’s life.
What has been a life changing moment for you?
In 2008 I fell pregnant with my first child. At 38 ½ weeks I went in for a regular checkup and was advised that he had passed away. The loss of my son ‘Nelson Rainbow Varma’ was a life changing moment.
What drives you?
After the loss of my son I felt robbed of the opportunity to be a mother. I was blessed that after Nelson I was able to have two more children. Navina is now 7 years old and Ethan is 5 years old. Being given this second chance drives me to do the best job I can do.
What is the best piece of advice you have ever been given and by whom?
While I was studying speech pathology one of my supervisors had explained to me that when a child does or says something that is inappropriate said to me to always figure out the ‘why’ i.e. why is the child doing what they are doing?. Once you understand the why it makes it easier to implement change.
Quote to live by?
Forgive it – Drop it – Leave it – Let it go (aka flick it off)
What are your top 3 bucket list items?
I am a parent with two young children (Navina 7 years old and Ethan 5 years old) so my bucket list is quite simple:
- One night of uninterrupted sleep
- One uninterrupted shower
- One uninterrupted meal
What’s next for you?
Hopefully more travel opportunities for both work and leisure purposes. As my children are getting older I am feeling braver to go on lengthy flights and still feel sane at the end of the flight.
What’s your greatest regret?
My biggest regret is the amount of time, energy and brain space I use up worrying about things not working. As worrying gets me nowhere I have come up with an acronym to remind myself to do something GREAT instead.
- Gratitude (i.e. be grateful for what I have).
- Resolve (i.e. be determined for what I want)
- Encourage (i.e. be focused on the positives)
- Accept (i.e. be accepting on challenges)
- Trust (i.e. be trusting that I will achieve my goal )
What is the key to your happiness?
3 cups of coffee a day!
Where is your favourite place to long lunch with friends in Brisbane?
Paw Paw Café, Woolloongabba (they are able to cater to my extra spicy palate)
Summarise Brisbane in 3 words…
Sunny Beautiful Relaxing