Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Hong Kong says it's enhancing services for autistic children

From Web Newswire in Hong Kong:

The Government is committed to providing early identification, assessment and treatment for autistic children to ensure that they receive appropriate care and support during their development, the Secretary for Labour and Welfare, Mr Matthew Cheung Kin-chung, said October 30.

Speaking at the opening ceremony of the first child care learning centre for autistic children operated by a non-governmental organisation in Hong Kong, the Neighbourhood Advice-Action Councils Chan Yin Chuen Child Enhancement Centre, Mr Cheung said that the 2010-11 Policy Address pledged to enhance assistance for autistic children - and their parents and carers - in the areas of healthcare and pre-school services.

Healthcare-wise, the Hospital Authority will increase the service quota for autistic children by 2,000 and strengthen its professional team, comprising child psychiatrists, paediatricians, clinical psychologists, nurses, speech therapists and occupational therapists, to enhance support for more autistic children.

Parents and carers of autistic children will also be provided with more information to improve their understanding of autism and the treatment needs of their children.

To dovetail with the Hospital Authoritys service, the Social Welfare Department will also increase places for pre-school early intervention services and training, and step up medical social services for these children, he said.

Mr Cheung said that early intervention to provide timely and appropriate support for autistic children and their parents could significantly improve their social skills, as well as their self-care and emotional control.

He thanked the Neighbourhood Advice-Action Council for contributing to the development of autistic children by setting up the self-financing centre as a platform to educate and support parents and carers.