Table of Contents

HK J Paediatr (New Series)
Vol 4. No. 2, 1999

HK J Paediatr (New Series) 1999;4:145-150

Specific Learning Disabilities

Developmental Dyslexia and Other Specific Learning Disabilities The State of Practice: International and Hong Kong Perspectives



The past 2-3 years saw an increase in interest and activities related to specific learning disabilities in Hong Kong. Despite many recent advances in the understanding of scientific and neurological underpinnings of these disorders, application of such knowledge to clinical and educational practice remains limited in many places, and specific learning disabilities often remain a "hidden handicap". This is also the situation in Hong Kong where there is still much confusion and disagreement on conceptual framework and practices among various professionals involved in this multidisciplinary subject. Many lay people and professionals alike still hold the view that specific learning disabilities are uncommon among the Chinese population. A recent review of clinical experience at Child Assessment Service speaks strongly against this belief, with over 200 children diagnosed with one or more specific learning disabilities in 1998 alone. Although these children showed serious difficulties in learning, over 80% of this cohort were not receiving the specific professional attention that they required. Today there is a wealth of research data pertaining to the neuroanatomical, physiological, genetic, psychological and educational aspects of respective specific learning disabilities types. Different disciplines who have legitimate concern in these conditions, including neuroscientists, neurologists, psychologists and education professionals, often do not share common definitions and terminology in research, rendering communication and sharing of results all but futile. Professional territory and personal factors contribute further to the endless polemics. Meanwhile, many children with specific learning disabilities, dyslexia or otherwise, continue to suffer without recognition and effective help, here in Hong Kong as in many parts of the world. With the progress in knowledge of brain mechanisms for learning, paediatricians who are advocates for children are duty bound to address this subject and to take an active role in advancing the understanding of these conditions and promoting services for these children.

Keyword : Specific learning disabilities; Dyslexia; Specific learning diabilities in Hong Kong


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