At Autism Recovery Network, we uplift and nurture young minds that have the potential to reach great heights but are lacking the opportunity to tap into them. That’s what our range of special education (SEN) in Hong Kong seeks to do by bringing onboard the best-of-best behavioral specialists.
Across the globe, there are children who excel amazingly in a normal classroom setting of a school and also those who lag behind due to individual disabilities, differences, and special learning needs. Special education is a system of learning that targets neurodivergent individuals, enabling them to go beyond their limitations and learn. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to SEN in Hong Kong, however, it’s tailored to meet the individual learning needs of each child in accessible settings using special teaching procedures.
There are close to 57,000 children with special education needs in Hong Kong. Children with SEN in Hong Kong have an Individualized Education Program (IEP) under which they get individualized pedagogy, assistance, and resources. Special education in Hong Kong may be provided in different settings and in different ways, but the objective of the system is to bring such SEN Hong Kong children to par with mainstream kids going to ordinary schools.
However, Hong Kong has created and adopted a well-designed dual-track system for educating students with SEN. This educational system offers special yet diverse education to SEN Hong Kong students to cater to their individual learning and development needs. Also, special education can be provided in a variety of settings, such as a classroom, at home, in special learning institutions, and in various other settings.
In principle, children with SEN in Hong Kong are encouraged to pursue their education in ordinary schools and institutions as far as possible. However, those who have severe SEN or suffer from multiple disabilities can be referred to special schools where they get intensive support upon the recommendation of specialists and with the consent of their parents.
Learning readiness, ability to communicate, play, understanding of language, expressive skills, social interaction, group participation, and self-help skills will equip children with SEN Hong Kong to participate in a mainstream and school inclusion setting.
Some difficulties that teachers of special education in Hong Kong are facing include how to manage SEN children to remain calm, be flexible with changes, develop sustained focused attention, fluently respond to instructions, and make spontaneous and persistent responses.
It is also important to note that the transition from a mono-track educational system to a dual-track one concerns teachers in the city’s ordinary schools. Much of it is because an integrated educational system is more than just putting children with SEN in Hong Kong in ordinary classrooms.
The process involves a complete change in the pedagogy of teachers and the operations of schools. The change calls for background knowledge and skills on the part of the teachers so that they can assist a diverse range of students. It can be challenging for teachers to meet the requirements for special education in Hong Kong by following practices of ordinary classrooms, while also meeting the individual needs of students.
For going about providing special education in Hong Kong, most teachers in the city express their concerns about the short duration of professional training that they are provided with before exposing them to students with SEN in real classroom settings. They are also faced with difficulties in the design of the special education curriculum and various assessment criteria. Most of the teachers for special education in Hong Kong show their concern over the practice of collaboration between various teaching teams, as well as the change of perception of administrators on the training and education of students with SEN in Hong Kong.
The provision of special education in Hong Kong is still an ongoing challenge for families of autistic children and other developmental disabilities. Special education in Hong Kong comes in many forms, one of them is the one on one intensive Applied Behavior Analysis and Verbal Behavior (ABA-VB) therapy that uses evidence-based teaching concepts and procedures. It simplifies concepts to teach in discrete trials and uses specific prompt procedures to help SEN children successfully respond to instructions. Reinforcement is given to strengthen correct responses and maintain target appropriate behaviors.
Early intervention also helps a SEN child to be more prepared when the time comes for him/her to go to a higher inclusion program. In Hong Kong, many schools have put up a Special Education Needs Department to specifically support students in the mainstream. They work hand in hand with other professionals such as Behavior Therapists, Speech Language Pathologists, Occupational and Physiotherapists. The need to enhance the training of people who can help SEN in Hong Kong is essential in making it more accessible to every child and family who need it.
To be in a special education program is one thing, but finding an effective intervention for SEN children, especially in Hong Kong, is another. Parents and their families should be able to find a program that will provide their child specialized instruction designed to meet their unique learning needs, giving them the opportunity to develop to their fullest potential and to overcome or eliminate the obstacles that keep children with special education needs from learning.
At our centre, we are a team of behavioral specialists who understand the need for special education for children who experience delayed development in different skill areas. We offer one on one intensive Applied Behavior Analysis and Verbal Behavior (ABA-VB) therapy to children with SEN in Hong Kong based on our knowledge of behavioral science.
Our board-certified behavioral analysts (BCBA) hold a master’s degree, Ph.D., and related specializations in the field of psychology, thereby possessing the know-how to diverse learning needs of children with SEN in Hong Kong. The ultimate objective of our training is to teach children with special education needs crucial communication and life skills that help them become well-rounded individuals. The developmental trajectory of such children is certainly different from other children, but we believe in celebrating the uniqueness of each child and unleashing his or her potential to the fullest.
Special education in Hong Kong is essential instruction designed specifically to cater to the unique learning needs of children with any kind of disability. This means that SEN education is individually developed so as to address a child’s specific needs. Since each child has unique needs, the pedagogy is individualized to ensure the overall development of necessary skills.
Under the current policy, Special Educational Needs (SEN) in Hong Kong include visual impairment, hearing impairment, physical disabilities, cognitive disability, speech and language impairment, autism spectrum disorders (ASD), attention-deficit/ hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and specific learning difficulties. These disorders and disabilities often interfere with the daily functioning, skill development, and academic achievements of children, thereby requiring special assistance for their education.
Special education programs are designed for children who have underdeveloped skills and abilities and require more assistance than others who are cognitively and socially more developed. School districts follow a well-defined process to determine who is eligible for special education. The process involves a complete evaluation of the SEN child conducted by a qualified instructor to understand his or her psyche. The assessment also looks at other aspects of their development to get a holistic understanding of their skills and abilities. Either the school or the child’s parents/caregivers can request the evaluation.
The education process and special support services outlined in the IEP of a child do not necessarily defray his or her entire education. It only addresses those educational needs that result from his or her physical or learning disability. For example, if a child requires special education support for all activities throughout the school day, the IEP will include all these needs. However, if the SEN Hong Kong child doesn’t require special support in one or more areas, such as music, science, or physical education, then the IEP of the child will exclude these subjects. In such an instance, the child will have to access education in these subjects through the general class curriculum without additional special education services.
The domain of special education needs clarity on two terms, “modification” and “accommodation.” A modification essentially means a change in what is being taught or expected from the student. An example of this would be making a class assignment easier for the student so that he or she does not have to work on the same level as his or her peers. On the other hand, accommodation is a change that helps the SEN child get over or work around his or her disability. An example of this would be allowing a SEN Hong Kong child who faces writing difficulties to answer his or her tests orally.