Single-minded training makes a bowling star
Meet Cheung Yee-hang, a student of The Jockey Club Youth Academy for Special Educational Needs (JCYASEN). When she was one year old, Yee-hang was diagnosed as being on autism disorder spectrum with speech and social impairments. She has a sensory integration disorder that produces pinprick-like painful sensations whenever she is touched. Previously, she would lie down and scream when she was stimulated by sounds on the street, yet it’s not easy to hold her as she would cry and throw tantrums from the discomfort. Her mother, Mrs. Cheung, tried her best to seek professional help to improve Yee-hang's behavior and find out her strengths through speech therapy, play therapy and occupational therapy.
Yee-hang's favorite hobby is bowling. When she was little, she could go to Jumpin Gym and just bowl the whole time. Later, she joined a summer bowling program and the coach invited Yee-hang to join the Hong Kong Special Olympics team. Many people with autism are good at focusing on the same thing for a long time, and while others may find repetitive training boring, autistic people actually feel comfortable from the set pattern and predictability. In 2019, Yee-hang represented Hong Kong in the Special Olympics bowling tournament in Abu Dhabi and won the silver medal in doubles. Perhaps even more encouragingly, over the training Yee-hang bonded with teammates and even managed to go out with them independently. This was a huge step from being constantly supervised and accompanied by her mother, and came as a milestone in her development.
In 2020, Yee-hang enrolled in the JCYASEN to experience university life and to acquire new knowledge and skills through specially designed courses, in order to integrate with society through life planning. In the graduation ceremony held in July 2022, Yee-hang said that she was very glad to have experience campus life at EdUHK.
With appropriate training and suitable guidance, students with special educational needs can fulfill their potential and build fruitful life. We need your support to create more and more shining stories.
Pianist communicates with music, not words
Meet Malcolm Mok, a student of The Jockey Club Youth Academy for Special Educational Needs (JCYASEN). From the young age of one, Malcolm has been fascinated by piano music, often listening to music pieces on repeat a hundred times. That was also when he was diagnosed at Level 2 in the autism disorder spectrum due to his everyday behaviour and reactions when interacting with others, that there is a gap in his interpersonal skills. Seeing her son's interest in music, his mother, Mrs Mok, hired a piano teacher and adapted teaching methodologies to accommodate Malcolm's lack of concentration. He also learned to play the piano without learning to read music. With the patient guidance of his teachers, Malcolm steadily improved his piano skills to the degree that, in recent years, he has performed at the Government House and the Cultural Centre with the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra. He has found an outlet for his creativity and expression, having learned to convey his feelings to others using means other than conventional language.
With a generous donation from The Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust, the JCYASEN aims to provide special educational needs (SEN) school leavers with practical courses and training opportunities, which enable them to acquire knowledge and life skills and to develop their unique talents.
After joining JCYASEN, Malcolm was more open to interacting with the youth of his age and expanding his social circle, even volunteering with his father and leading exercises in a group setting. These transformations not only came as a welcome relief to his parents but also as a boost to both EdUHK and JCYASEN's vision of providing support and continuing education to SEN students and parents and promoting social inclusion.
With appropriate training and suitable guidance, SEN students can fulfill their potential and build fruitful life. We need your support to create more and more shining stories.