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(Hong Kong) Majority of SPED students neglected; thousands on waiting lists

Aug 9, 2018, The Standard: Study reveals plight of special needs kids Only 25 percent of the 138 Integrated Youth Service centers in Hong Kong provide adequate assistance for special needs children. The alarming findings were brought to light following a research project carried out by the Special Educational Needs Rights Association and the Social Development Practice and Research Centre between Decmber 2017 and June 2018. It was also revealed that less than 40 percent of the 67 Integrated Family Service centers provide sufficient support for parents taking care of SEN children. Also, SEN parent support services offered by the Social Welfare Department, including IFSCs and Parents/Relatives resource centers, have an average waiting time of six months to a year…. "SEN-orientated parent-child schemes are in short supply, making it difficult for parents to find emotional stability and support," Kwok said. Shirley Hung Suet-lin, associate head of Hong Kong Baptist University's Department of Social Work, said the tragedy in May of a 52-year-old woman allegedly murdering her six-year-old grandson, who suffered from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, should serve a wake-up call…. In the 2017/18 school year there were more than 45,300 SEN schoolchildren in mainstream public primary schools, which accounted for 6.2 percent of the total student population. … "I received no moral support from my son's school as they are not familiar with ADHD," said Connie, a mother of a 10-year-old boy. "About three years ago he tried to kill himself as he was outcast by his teachers and mentors." To address the special education needs of Hong Kong children, the Social Welfare Department launched a pilot scheme for on-site preschool habilitation services in 2015, which cut the waiting list - more than 6,000 children - by almost half. In July last year, Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor announced new measures, such as introducing a special educational needs coordinator in primary and secondary schools.


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