Because of the epidemic, all schools across the territory have advanced the commencement of their summer holiday. To help parents and teachers guide students with special educational needs (SEN) to make the most of the holiday and pick up more skills in learning and social adaptation, the Education Bureau (EDB) has specially launched the “Catering for Students with Special Educational Needs - Joyful Online Learning at Home” summer series and “Summer Tips for Special Educational Needs Coordinators (SENCOs)” on the EDB website for parents’ and teachers’ reference (www.edb.gov.hk/tc/edu-system/special/support/wsa/pro-support/senco/summer_tips.html).
The summer series includes a set of infographics introducing effective strategies for parent-child communication, impulsivity control and emotion regulation for parents of students with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (AD/HD). Reference materials are also available for parents to help their children with AD/HD at junior secondary level set goals and work out methods for achieving goals by using the Powerful Questions of REAP (i.e. Review-Evaluate-Anticipate-Plan).
To support students with specific learning difficulties in reading and writing, further to our provision of tips for parents on how to enhance the reading abilities of their children on the “Smart Parent Net”, we have included in the summer series self-learning materials that help secondary students enhance their Chinese reading skills, and self-learning video clips and related online games on how to use speech-to-text software.
Drawing on the experience in implementing evidence-based and effective strategies, we have produced a series of teaching materials for teachers and parents to help students with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) plan leisure activities, acquire the gist of social communication skills, and learn time management, self-regulation skills and ways to relax with a view to enhancing their social adaptation skills and abilities. More able students with ASD may use the materials to learn on their own as well.
Parents of children with speech and language impairment can make use of the training materials provided by the school-based speech therapists and practise with their children at home. On the dedicated webpage of the summer series, there is a hyperlink to the speech therapy resources developed by the EDB and uploaded onto the HKEdCity website (www.hkedcity.net/sen/sli/training). Parents can select suitable communication training materials for their children, such as those on giving self-introductions or initiating conversations, in order to prepare their children for meeting new friends in the coming school year.
While all students have to adapt to a new environment, a new curriculum and new learning modes in the new school year, things are all the more challenging for those with SEN. As such, we have produced the “Summer Tips for SENCOs”. SENCOs are advised to keep reviewing the situation and needs of students with SEN, and are encouraged to lead the Student Support Team to adopt a person-centred approach to devise support plans to provide appropriate support for these students in the new school year.
At the beginning of the school year, schools may organise diversified activities to help students with SEN adapt to the new learning environment. Teachers should set small, specific and attainable learning targets for these students, and employ various learning and teaching strategies to gradually boost students’ learning motivation and confidence.
To assist schools in taking care of students’ mental health, 32 workshops conducted by psychologists were organised for principals and teachers before the commencement of the 2019/20 school year. These workshops were well-received by the sector. In the 2020/21 school year, we will organise another 20 workshops on “Love and Care in Schools Amid Social Changes” for teachers and guidance personnel (please refer to the EDB Training Calendar for details). Psychiatrists will be invited to share practical skills for supporting students in need and discuss case studies with a view to enhancing school personnel’s capability in taking care of students with mental health needs.
With mutual support and collaboration between schools and parents, students with SEN will surely be able to put their mind to learning and grow up in a caring and inclusive environment.
6 August 2020