About the Beneficiaries
Special Educational Needs cover a wide range of needs, including Specific Learning Difficulties (SLD), Intellectual Disability (ID), Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), Attention-deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Physical Disability (PD), Visual Impairment (VI) and Speech and Language Impairment (SLI), whilst ASD and ADHD are the most noticeable of all due to the distinctive behavior caused.
Up until now, there are more than 80,000 children diagnosed with SEN in Hong Kong, accounting for 8.09% of all children in Hong Kong, involving more than 40,000 families. If suspected cases are added, the figures may still be underestimated. Families with SEN children are facing unimagined difficulties and stress, especially during COVID when almost all public services are not available, yet the situation has yet to be brought to the attention of the public. The latest waiting time for SEN children to gain access to proper medical treatment is 1.5 years. Without a formal diagnosis, children are not qualified to receive government-funded services. They also have to wait for services after being diagnosed, and the average waiting time is more than one year. It may have surpassed the golden period of SEN children's treatment and affected long-term growth and development. Support and training services in the community are expensive and unaffordable for grassroots families. Single parents are stressed and anxious when faced with the academic, behavioral, and emotional problems of their SEN children. The extended period of waiting might result in delayed and even missing the prime treatment period and cause a lifetime damage to the children.