About Umeed

We are a group of community members and professionals working to build awareness about Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in British Columbia’s Punjabi Community.

Meet the Team

Neetika Bains

Neetika is an Autism Resource and Support Specialist with Autism Information Services BC (AIS BC). Neetika is proud to be working with the committed professionals of the UMEED committee. Her goal on this committee is to help families navigate the services and supports available as well as empower families to advocate for their children.

Preetinder Narang

Preetinder is a District Behaviour Analyst in Surrey School District with over 17 years of experience providing behavioural and consultative services to children and youth with ASD in home, school, and community settings. A BCBA since 2012, Preetinder has been an advocate for cultural competence in ABA practices for over 10 years and provides peer review for the Diversity in Behavior Analysis section of Behavior Analysis: Research and Practice. She has served on the board of ABAI’s Culture and Diversity SIG (formerly MultiABA) since 2013 and has taught in MultiABA’s verified course sequence in Japan. Preetinder was Project Manager for ACT’s South Asian Awareness Project and currently provides autism information and support to Punjabi families through the volunteer initiative Umeed. Preetinder is completing her Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology and Education at the University of Toronto. She enjoys teaching in Surrey College’s ABA-SW program and holds the appointment of Adjunct Professor at the University of British Columbia.

Manpreet Suhi

Manpreet holds a master’s degree in software engineering, specializing in project management from the San Jose State University California. Manpreet has worked in various companies in Canada such as BentallGreenOak, Vivonet, and Boeing, and previously worked in the Bay Area with RealPage Inc, Sun Microsystems and Wells Fargo. He values community service and has been an active member of the local Sikh diaspora in the British Columbia. He is passionate about photography and regularly consults on digital marketing and social media outreach for Sikh Research Institute and Panjab Digital Library. Manpreet has excellent Punjabi language skills and provided translation for ACT’s South Asian Awareness Project and provides cultural and language-based support for Umeed.

Kavita V. Kamat

Kavita Kamat is a Behaviour Analyst and Clinical Director at posAbilities-LBSS.
She has been in the field of disability for over 20 years. Kavita holds a Master of Social Work (MSW) from Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai and Master of Education (M.Ed.) from the University of British Columbia. During her time at posAbilities-LBSS, she provided behaviour support to families with children diagnosed with autism and other intellectual disabilities in home, school and community settings for over 8 years. In her current position she oversees the operations, clinical supervision, development and training across different regions. Kavita is fluent in English and Hindi and is passionate about working with children and adults from different cultural and socio-economic background living at home and other residential facilities. She has been part of UMEED since its inception under Autism Community Training.

Srishti Arora

Srishti is a Board-Certified Assistant Behavior Analyst and currently works at posAbilities-LBSS as a Behaviour Consultant. Srishti’s educational background includes B.Sc. in Health Science from Simon Fraser University and post-baccalaureate in Applied Behaviour Analysis through Capilano University. She has training to implement PECS (picture exchange communication system). She is passionate about early intervention and providing parent training to address and support the unique needs of each child and family. Srishti is fluent in English and Hindi and is passionate about working with children and adults from different cultural and socio-economic backgrounds.

Dr. Mandeep Gurm

Dr. Mandeep Gurm is a psychologist who earned her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from Simon Fraser University in 2020. She first began to learn about autism after volunteering to work with autistic children during her education. Her experience includes psychological assessment and psychotherapy with autistic and non-autistic clients. Dr. Mandeep is excited to bring her expertise to Umeed because she has always been passionate about promoting culturally appropriate mental health services for our Punjabi and South Asian communities.

Parbinder (Parbs) Bains

Parbs is a Behaviour Analyst (BCBA) who has been in the field of special education supporting families in the home, school and community settings since 2002. She holds a Bachelor of Education (B.Ed.) and a Master of Education (M.Ed.) in Special Education from the University of British Columbia. Parbs has a keen interest in developing culturally appropriate behaviour support services for children with autism spectrum disorder and other developmental disabilities. Parbs is a member of Umeed and has also been working with a group of professionals to develop workshops to make Positive Behaviour Support more accessible to families from different cultural backgrounds.

Raminder Kaur

Raminder has a Ph.D. In clinical psychology from Panjab University, Chandigarh, India. She has experience working as a Behaviour Interventionist at Delta Association of Child Development known as REACH and as a Behaviour Consultant with posAbilities from 2005-2017. During this time, she worked intensively with children, youth and adults and facilitated social skills groups. In 2011, she became certified Triple P® (Stepping Stones) trained practitioner and provider which has helped her empower families with necessary tools to support their child. Since 2017, she has been working as an ABA support worker with Surrey School Board and has continued to provide behaviour consultation services to South Asian families upon request. Raminder is fluent in English, Punjabi and Hindi and has extensive experience working with children and adults from different cultural and socio-economic backgrounds in home settings. She is also highly involved in the community through volunteer work and is an active member of UMEED group.

Ratnam Mathur

Ratnam has a Master of Commerce and double Bachelor of Education majoring in Psychology and English literature from Nagpur University, India. She has been with the Developmental Disabilities Association (DDA) since 2004 and has been a Manager of a staffed residence for adults with Autism and other intellectual disability since 2008. Ratnam serves on various committees at DDA and other advocacy platforms such as: Champions of Inclusive Health of BC, Rights Committee, Community Living Network of Richmond as well as ‘Namaste Canada’, an Indo-Canadian, annual cultural festival, an initiative of the consulate general of India, Victory Foundation promoting inclusive participation of DDA residents in Bollywood dance training & public performance. She is proficient in English, Hindi and Marathi. Ratnam is very passionate about community inclusion, outreach and advocacy for people with different disabilities and supporting family members by offering guidance, help and education on various community resources.

History of Umeed

Umeed started as a committee of professionals in 2013 with support from ACT – Autism Community Training. Its original name was ACT’s South Asian Awareness Project (ASAAP). The committee was renamed Umeed in 2017 after partnering with posAbilities. Umeed means “Hope” in Punjabi and relates to its mandate: to bring hope to Punjabi families whose child may be showing early signs of autism or has been diagnosed with autism by:

  • Increasing autism awareness
  • Encouraging early diagnosis
  • Providing information on evidence-based supports available in the community
  • Making relevant resources available to families in Punjabi