Nurturing an infant or toddler with special needs takes time, energy, and patience at times. When it is time for these little ones to enter the school system, parents often realize they have a new role. Little Steps Education Partner, ITS, offers tips on navigating the special needs education scene in Hong Kong.
The Education Bureau of Hong Kong provides school-based and centre-based assessment and support services for children suspected of having physical or sensory disabilities, speech and language impairments, learning or behavior problems. The Bureau runs two Special Education Services Centres, located in Kowloon Tong, Kowloon and Kwai Chung, New Territories. Assessment services include psychological, social and educational assessment for children with learning or behavior problems, speech and language assessment, and audiological assessment for hearing problems.
In Hong Kong, schools and early education institutions place great importance on identifying SEN so they can help a child as early as possible. However, some international and local schools do not have adequate resources for special needs students and may have selective admission policies.
* ESF (English Schools Foundation) - main provider of primary and secondary academic support for a wide range of special education needs.
* Jockey Club Sarah Roe School - in Kowloon offers 60 places for children ages 5-19 with the most severe learning difficulties. The school recently initiated the Primary Years Programme (PYP) of the International Baccalaureate (IB), which has proven success and aims to be fully accredited soon.
Many international schools have selective admission policies for children with Special Needs. Most schools provide supplemental services for students with mild special learning needs. Students with special needs are admitted when their individual needs can be met through the amount and kind of support that each school provides.
1. If your child has special needs, it is important to check ahead of time whether the school you choose is adequately adept.
2. Do not assume that all schools are prepared for the needs of your child, and it is also important to make sure you do not force your child into an education system that isn’t working from them.
3. As parents, it is important to be open-minded, explore all options available rather than focusing only on a single possibility.
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