Traditional Chinese Simplified Chinese Email this article
LCQ15: Support Services for children with disabilities

     Following is a question by the Hon Cheung Kwok-che and a written reply by the Secretary for Labour and Welfare, Mr Matthew Cheung Kin-chung, in the Legislative Council today (May 16):


     According to the information provided by the Central Registry for Rehabilitation of the Labour and Welfare Bureau, the number of children registrants aged zero to 14 with various types of disabilities, such as intellectual disabilities, hearing or visual impairment and physical disabilities etc, had been decreasing over the past 10-odd years, while the number of those with autism increased from 884 in 2001 to 2 593 in 2011, representing approximately a three-fold increase. Moreover, the number of cases receiving the Child Assessment Service (CAS) provided by the Department of Health increased from 5 574 in 2000 to 26 217 in 2010, representing a five-fold increase. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(a) of the respective numbers of children aged zero to 14 and adults with disabilities in the past five years, broken down by type of disabilities (list in table form);

(b) whether the statistics on cases receiving CAS at present include those receiving assessments on autism and dyslexia; if not, whether the authorities will include the statistics on such cases;

(c) of the new services and resources provided since 2010 in the areas of education, social welfare and healthcare to children with hyperactivity disorder and specific learning difficulties; and

(d) of the respective education, social welfare and healthcare services currently provided to children with dyslexia; whether the authorities will enhance the relevant services?


     My reply to the Hon Cheung Kwok-che's question is as follows:

(a) and (b)According to the records of the Labour and Welfare Bureau's Central Registry for Rehabilitation (CRR), the numbers of CRR Cards that have been issued in the past five years, by type of disabilities and age group (aged 0-14 and above 14), are listed at Annex 1. According to the records of the Department of Health (DH), the numbers of children diagnosed with developmental disabilities by the Child Assessment Services (CAS) in the past five years, by type of disabilities, are listed at Annex 2. These statistics have already covered the number of children with autism and dyslexia. As CAS is provided only to children aged 0-12, DH does not have statistics on children in the age group above 12.

(c) and (d) The Government strives to provide various services and support for children with special educational needs (SEN), including those with attention deficit/ hyperactive disorder (AD/HD) and special learning difficulties (SLD) (eg dyslexia), in order to develop their potential and help them integrate into society. Details of the relevant medical, education and welfare services are set out below.

Medical Services

     The Child Assessment Centre (the Centre) of DH provides children with SEN, including those with AD/HD and SLD (eg dyslexia), with comprehensive integrated assessment services, and arranges the required rehabilitation services for them. The Centre also provides complementary teaching materials and organises a range of activities, including talks for parents, workshops and parental training courses, in order to support parents of needy children. For diagnosed cases, the Centre will arrange and co-ordinate the necessary rehabilitation services according to individual needs and family conditions of the children. After preliminarily assessment by the Centre, children suffering from AD/HD will be referred to the Paediatrics and Adolescent Medicine or Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Specialist Outpatient Clinics of the Hospital Authority (HA) for further diagnosis and treatment. For children with SEN, they will be referred to receive suitable support services.

     HA has a professional team comprising multi-disciplinary healthcare practitioners to provide needy children with early identification, assessment and treatment. The professional team comprises child psychiatrists, paediatricians, clinical psychologists, nurses, speech therapists and occupational therapists. It provides children diagnosed with autism or AD/HD with a range of treatment and training, with a view to enhancing their ability in language communication, socialising, emotion management, problem solving, learning and speech, etc. The professional team also provides the parents and carers of needy children with knowledge about these diseases, in order to enhance their understanding of the symptoms and treatment needs. In addition, HA's professional team maintains close communication with related organisations, such as schools and early training centres, to provide appropriate referrals and support according to the developmental needs of the children.  In 2011-12, 48 additional doctors, nurses and allied health professionals have been provided to HA's professional team.

Education Services

     With a view to facilitating public sector primary and secondary schools to support their students with SEN, including those with AD/HD and SLD (eg dyslexia), the Education Bureau (EDB) has been providing schools with additional resources, and continued to enhance and develop the professional support and teacher training. Additional resources for schools provided by EDB include Learning Support Grant, Enhanced Speech Therapy Grant and provision of additional teachers to cater for the needs of the low academic achievers, etc. EDB also provides professional support for schools in areas such as assessment and consultation services of educational psychologists, speech therapists and audiologists, development of teaching resources for the use of teachers and parents, etc. The professional staff of EDB also pay regular visits to schools to provide professional advice on matters related to the policies and practices on early identification and intervention of students with SEN, teaching strategies, resource deployment and home-school co-operation, etc. Besides, to enhance the professional competencies of teachers in catering for the needs of students with SEN, EDB launched the Teacher Professional Development Framework on Integrated Education (Framework) in the 2007-08 school year, under which systematic professional development courses have been provided. As announced by the Chief Executive in the 2011-12 Policy Address, EDB will further extend the School-based Educational Psychology Service to cover all public sector secondary and primary schools by the 2016-17 school year. Through regular visits to schools, the educational psychologists provide schools with comprehensive professional support services, including assessment and counseling for students, professional development/consultation for teachers, parent education as well as professional advice on the school policies and practices for supporting students with diverse educational needs.

     The abovementioned support services cover students with AD/HD and those with SLD. With regard to support services specifically provided for students with these two types of SEN, thematic courses on SLD and AD/HD have been included in the Framework to strengthen teacher training. Furthermore, EDB has developed localised screening tools and checklists for early identification of at-risk students in collaboration with the Department of Psychology and Department of Psychiatry of The Chinese University of Hong Kong, thereby facilitating the early identification of students with this type of SEN and their early referral for psychiatric assessment services and medical treatment. Separately, further to the publication of a "Development of Executive Skills Resource Package" for primary school students in the 2009-10 school year, EDB is developing a "Coaching Programme on Development of Executive Skills" for school supporting staff, including teachers, school social workers and guidance personnel, thereby enabling them to systematically enhance students' executive skills and ability of self management.

     In fact, over the past ten years, there has been significant development in the educational support for students with SLD in the areas of assessment tools, identification mechanism and support strategies, etc.  For example, EDB has collaborated with the tertiary institutions to develop the Hong Kong Test of Specific Learning Difficulties in Reading and Writing for Primary School Students (second edition) (2007) and the Hong Kong Test of Specific Learning Difficulties in Reading and Writing for Junior Secondary School Students (second edition) (2012), both with local norms; facilitated all public sector primary schools in Hong Kong to make use of the electronic version of the "Observation Checklist for Teacher" for early identification and intervention of Primary One students with learning difficulties; and developed diversified teaching and remedial resources for use by schools. The latest development is to support schools to apply an evidence-based and widely recognised "Tiered Intervention Model on the Teaching of Chinese Language in Primary Schools" (the Model) to assist students with SLD. At present, more than 80 primary schools are trying out the Model with the support of EDB's professional staff. It is anticipated that 40 more primary schools will participate in the project in the coming school year.

Welfare Services

     The Social Welfare Department (SWD) provides children with SEN from birth to six years old, including those with AD/HD and SLD (eg dyslexia), with early intervention through pre-school rehabilitation services, with a view to enhancing their physical, psychological and social developments, thus improving their opportunities for participating in ordinary schools and daily life activities and helping their family meet their special needs.

     The Government has been steadily increasing the pre-school rehabilitation places. Over the past five years, the Government has provided about 1 400 additional places, representing an increase of 30%. At present, there are a total of 6 230 pre-school rehabilitation places. We anticipate that there will be 607 additional places coming on stream in 2012-13. Furthermore, the Community Care Fund has rolled out an assistance programme on "Training Subsidy for Children who are on the Waiting List of Subvented Pre-school Rehabilitation Services" in December 2011, providing training subsidy for children with rehabilitation needs from low-income families for not more than 12 months. The programme aims at enabling them to receive the necessary services as early as possible to facilitate their learning and development. Moreover, SWD, through its District Support Centres for Persons with Disabilities, provides one-stop support and training services for adults and children with disabilities living in the district, as well as training, educational courses, talks and workshops etc, for their carers so as to enhance their caring ability. In addition, the Parents/Relatives Resource Centre also organises social and recreational activities for children with disabilities and their carers to facilitate experience sharing and mutual support.

Ends/Wednesday, May 16, 2012
Issued at HKT 14:00


Print this page