This is a very special program today, as our energetic and charismatic student host, Danny, sits down with Mr. Flansco Yan from the SEN Teaching Support Team of the Principal’s Office to discuss issues related to students with disabilities. Many students in Hong Kong cope with physical disabilities, behavioural disorders, or developmental or emotional issues. These issues can make school life, an already stressful and sometimes frustrating experience, even tougher. In turn, our teachers and staff have the difficult job of trying to look out for every student and anticipate how to support them individually.
In this interview, Danny and Mr. Yan discuss several of the impairments our students are living with, and suggest strategies for peers and teachers to effectively help friends and students who might be struggling a little bit harder in a world often designed for just one type of person.
They begin their conversation by considering some of the more common conditions and disabilities the SDO encounters, such as dyslexia, motor and hearing impairment, and Asperger’s and autism.
From there, they discuss the importance of “peer support” – that is, students supporting other students – and Mr. Yan mentions that the SDO actually runs programs that can train students to become Peer Counsellors. Most people are more comfortable talking to friends than teachers, counsellors, or even parents, so it’s good to know how to help when our friends and classmates reach out to us.
Mr. Yan then gives advice to teachers, in terms of how they can better accommodate the range of needs present in the classroom, including before and after lessons. So, teachers: Listen up!
Mr. Yan then shares a nice analogy when Danny asks about the similarities between students: Essentially, we’re not all the same, and that’s a good thing. According to an old Chinese expression, every finger on your hand has a different size, shape, and strength, but each has something special it can do, and each one is necessary for your hand to function. Similarly, while students may have deficits in one area, in another area they might be uniquely gifted, and sometimes those gifts will only be revealed when everyone works together.
The interview ends with some stories of the positive outcomes Mr. Yan has witnessed (and helped bring about). However, he is clear-eyed about the fact that successes come and go, and it is important to always be turning to those next to us and asking ourselves, again and again, if we can help.
Special thanks to our student DJ:
Danny KONG (DE114104-2F) HD in Digital Music and Media