Things to Consider
The shortage of places in local schools for children with special educational needs has long been a concern in Hong Kong.
Those with mild to severe learning disabilities, including autism, Asperger’s syndrome, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and Down syndrome have few options in terms of a mainstream classroom education.
Currently, the level of public funding for SEN education isn’t enough to cover the extent of what’s required, even though Hong Kong’s academic community widely accepts the reality of learning disorders. There are limited choices and resources in Hong Kong for placing children with SEN in schools, making what is already a challenge for families even more difficult. Some expatriate families have chosen to leave Hong Kong and return to their home countries as a result of this.
The EDB website contains information about the government’s initiatives regarding children with special educational needs.
International schools that accept and offer assistance to children with special needs include:
- Canadian International School
- Carmel School
- ESF (besides the Jockey Club Sarah Roe School, for children with severe learning difficulties, ESF offers mainstream classes and learning support centers within their schools)
- The Harbour School
- International Christian School
- Kellett School
- Korean International School
- Small World Christian Kindergarten
Specialized Centers and Organizations
A number of schools, organizations and specialists offer support to children with special educational needs in Hong Kong.
Aoi Pui School
Formerly Autism Partnership School, the Aoi Pui School was founded in 2007 to meet the needs of children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). It is located in Happy Valley on Hong Kong Island.
Child Development Centre
The Child Development Centre provides early intervention programs for children with SEN from birth to six years of age.
The Children’s Institute of Hong Kong (TCI)
Founded in 2003, TCI is a non-profit school for children with special educational needs. It is linked with the Harbour School.
FOCUS, which stands for Focus on Children’s Understanding in School, is a Hong Kong charity aimed at improving the education of mainstream students who are dealing with ADHD or specific learning difficulties such as dyslexia or dyscalculia.
Jockey Club Sarah Roe School (ESF)
Operated by the English Schools Foundation, the Jockey Club Sarah Roe School provides for students with severe learning difficulties between the ages of 5 to 19.
Rainbow Project is a charitable organization catering to the needs of children with ASD coming from international, English-speaking backgrounds. They also conduct workshops, training and give talks on autism in mainstream schools to raise awareness of the condition.
Watchdog Early Education Centre
Watchdog provides early intervention and education programs for Hong Kong’s developmentally delayed children under the age of six.
You can get in touch with reputable speech therapists in Hong Kong through your child’s school or doctor. Alternatively, you can visit the Hong Kong Association of Speech Therapists’ website for a list of registered practitioners.
Child Psychologists/Educational Psychologists
The Child Assessment Service of the HKSAR Department of Health has a list of professional associations dedicated to issues relating to child mental health and development.