Educator, Social Entrepreneur and Professional Academician
Dr. Vasudha Prakash is a visionary educator, social entrepreneur and professional academician with more than 34 years of experience in the education and disability sector. After returning from the US, where she was a tenure-track faculty member at Kean University, she started an NGO, V-Excel Educational Trust in Chennai, a pioneering initiative to provide lifespan, all-encompassing, services to persons with cognitive and developmental challenges.
V-Excel provided a fertile platform for a variety of progressive activities, from creating awareness and providing services, through developing research and documentation. V-Excel’s partners now include corporates, government agencies, other NGOs, institutions of higher learning and foundations. So far the organization has impacted and influenced more than 65,000 people with special needs. The V-Excel journey has facilitated the emergence of many philosophies and methodologies to create newer depths of understanding not only of people with special needs but also neurotypical people. A very gratifying culmination of V-Excel’s work has been that several people trained in the organization are now employed in well-paying and respectable jobs in the so-called “mainstream”. Dr. Prakash is constantly exploring innovative channels for inclusion and integration.
Under her guidance, the V-Excel Educational Trust now operates 10 centres in Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra. Her aspiration is to open as many centres as possible, in Tier 2 towns, to give access to the same quality of professional services for people in need there.
Dr. Prakash’s focus has been in devoting considerable time to teacher training and in conducting professional workshops. She has conducted hundreds of workshops and training programs around the country in schools, universities and in the corporate sector. She is a Certified Independent Director and will be accepting appointments on corporate boards.
Her recipe for success is relatively simple. She is tenacious and not deterred by the first, second or third barriers. She strongly believes that the lessons learnt from special education have great relevance for, and should consistently be applied to, regular education. And the fact that she has been able to put this belief into practice, has been a gratifying aspect of the journey for her.
A big reason for the success has been that Dr. Prakash’s team shares her passion and vision and they “walk the talk” in cooperation. She also makes regular media appearances where she provides advice and guidance on special education and life skills, while advocating and championing the rights for equality of people with disabilities. Her dedication and involvement in the field of special needs have won her various awards, such as ‘Distinguished Board Member Award’ at the Princess Haya Award for Special Education (PHASE), in the year 2017, the ‘Indian Achiever’s Award’ in the year 2017, ‘Jeppiaar Icon Award for Educational Entrepreneurship’ from Jeppiaar Engineering College in 2016, ‘Lady Kalyani Sivaswami Aiyar Best Teacher Award’ from Lady Sivaswami Ayyar Girls’ High Secondary School in 2016, and ‘Nallor Virudu’ from Sri Krishna Sweets in 2015 to name a few.
Dr. Prakash is also a practising professional psychotherapist who devotes a lot of her time working with parents of children with special needs and also with people from all walks of life struggling with emotional and psychological problems. Her particular focus has been to help teenagers and adolescents cope with the tumultuous transitional stages of their lives. Dr. Prakash is a trained hypnotherapist and a past-life regression therapist with her initial training from Dr. Brian Weiss and later from California Institute of Hypnotherapy. She uses some of those techniques in her therapeutic work.
She spends her leisure in singing, tarot reading and palmistry and travel.