A Training and Therapeutic Programme for Autistic School Leavers
Hong Kong, 6 February 2017 – FWD Hong Kong (“FWD”) and Hong Chi Association (“Hong Chi”) announced the FWD x Hong Chi “Live Up Adulthood” Transitional Support Programme (“Live Up Adulthood Programme”). The programme was launched to provide transitional support to school leavers (aged 18 or above) with autism and intellectual disabilities through a variety of training and therapeutic sessions to help them prepare for future social service placement.
The programme is an extension of the FWD x Hong Chi “Live Up Today” Programme set up by FWD and Hong Chi in 2014 to help autistic people develop and engage with their families and the community. FWD committed to donate HK$4.5 million to support the operations of the Live Up Adulthood Programme for three years.
In Hong Kong, there are significantly insufficient numbers of facilities which provide permanent social service placements, such as Sheltered Workshops and Day Activity Centres, and young school leavers with autism and intellectual disabilities commonly have to wait for years for placements. The waiting time is even longer for those who seek placements closer to home. These young adults may have to spend years seeking temporary placements or staying at home, thus weakening the effectiveness of former education due to a lack of continuous training to sustain and further develop their learned skills. The Live Up Adulthood Programme aims to fill the gap by providing them with much-needed transitional support.
David Wong, Chief Executive Officer, Hong Kong & Macau and Executive Vice President, Greater China, FWD, said, “At FWD, we offer people opportunities to get ready to live. By setting up the Live Up Adulthood Programme, we hope to bring society’s attention to the lack of educational and transitional support available to autistic school leavers. We hope that our support can help bridge the gap."
Mr Aldan Kwok, General Secretary, Hong Chi Association, said, "Thank you again to FWD Hong Kong for generously sponsoring Hong Chi Association to launch the FWD x Hong Chi “Live Up Today” Programme for young adults with autism and the promotional effort. The Programme enables people in need to receive appropriate professional therapies, which help enhance their life skills and social communication, as well as greatly relieve the pressure their families are facing."
David added, “With more adequate support in place, all these young autistic adults need are opportunities. To raise public’s awareness, understanding and acceptance, we have been working closely with Hong Chi on various promotional and supporting activities."
The one-year transitional programme focuses on six core areas, namely occupational skills, art, music, daily living, community integration as well as vocational training. For two full days every week, training and therapies are delivered in individual and small group formats to more effectively fit specific needs.
Artist Leila Kong, herself a young mother of two young children, visited Hong Chi earlier and had some valuable experiences participating in some of the programme’s training and therapeutic sessions. For instance, in an art therapy session a young lady was encouraged and guided to express her feelings and thoughts through painting; while in a therapeutic life skill training session, a barbecue was used as a means to help two twin brothers strengthen their communication skills and independence.
Impressed with the trainees’ passion, the instructors’ devotion and the overall quality of the training, Leila said, “The programme not only helps participants adapt to the community, but also raises public awareness of their needs. Despite facing mental and physical challenges, autistic people are blessed with extraordinary imagination and creativity. The community needs more programmes and activities of this nature to let these passionate individuals develop and realise their potential.”
For more about Leila’s visit of Hong Chi, watch this short video where she shares her experience