Community support services for SEN students

August 18, 2017 17:32
Given that most SEN students are suffering from low self-esteem, some organizations design interest classes from which the kids could master a skill and derive satisfaction. Photo: Heep Hong Society

Home and school are two pillars that support students with special educational needs (SEN). The third is community support services, which have become more readily available in recent years. 

If the community is providing children with suitable support and services, this triangle of support –home, school and community will be achieved, and SEN children will benefit the most.

There are numerous professional special education services on the market: concentration training, social skills therapy, courses on behavior adjustment and emotional management, and so on.

However, parents must bear in mind that Rome wasn’t built in a day. Hard work and perseverance are a must. On top of letting their SEN children receive the training and attend the classes of these professionals, parents should also accompany their kids and consolidate what they have learned by practicing the new skills constantly at home.

Given that most SEN students are suffering from low self-esteem as they are often criticized for their misbehavior at home and poor academic performance in school, some organizations, such as The Salvation Army Tuen Mun Integrated Service for Youth People, are designing interest classes for them.

These classes offer fun lessons such as how to play the djembe or perform magic tricks, which SEN kids can master in a relative short time and from which they can derive a lot of satisfaction.

Performance shows are often arranged in the community, allowing children to take the stage and show off what they are capable of doing.

Research studies suggest that when schoolchildren’s self-esteem is enhanced, their emotions, behavior and relationship with parents also improve. Like a gearset, once a part is started, the rest will go along.

Most interest classes are conducted in small groups, enabling the teacher to closely monitor the children and find the areas that could be developed further.

I remember a frustrated-looking mother who brought her twin sons who have attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) to the center. The boys turned out to be so talented that their teacher arranged for them to play the djembe on a television show.

Since then the brothers’ behavioral problems have also been much reduced. Everyone is happy for the twins, especially their mother.

This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on Aug. 14

Translation by John Chui

[Chinese version 中文版]

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Registered social worker for the child and adolescent psychiatric services