Accessing Therapy and Intervention for a Child with Special Needs
As a parent of a child with special needs in Hong Kong, I understand that identifying and accessing the right specialists to provide both a diagnosis and the correct interventions can be a challenging and emotional journey. This guide will help you navigate the process and connect with relevant specialists and education providers here in Hong Kong. If you suspect your child needs interventions, where should you go first? Who should you speak to? If your child was born in one of Hong Kong’s public hospitals, and if you’ve accessed the public post natal clinics, you will already be registered in the public health system.
The first step if you suspect your child requires either therapy or specialist health services or if you have concerns that you want to be addressed, is to go for a check at your local MCHC. This is the first box to tick and is the gateway to specialist referrals.
One local HK Mom, Nicole Luk, who has been through this public system with two of her children shares her experiences and advice here. Her thoughts are invaluable to any parent, no matter the severity of your child’s needs.
After a diagnosis has been made and therapy recommended, it’s important to ask the doctor to refer you to a medical social worker at the hospital who will be able to help you with the application to government subsidised preschool rehabilitation services and also with the application for the disability allowance.
However, if your child was born in a private hospital, or if you generally access medical help via the private system, you may find it a more onerous process to access public services. It is not straightforward to move between systems; the paperwork is lengthy and waiting lists are long. If you are are in this situation, you should still go via your local MCHC to start the ball rolling, or you can choose to access services privately – a visit to your GP is the first step and will lead to referrals for initial assessments.
If you have chosen to go down the private route, there are a large number of therapists and specialists that can provide assessments and ongoing therapies across a range of disciplines. Not all therapies and specialists are covered by health insurers, so ensure that you review your policies before you start.