Improvements need to be made in the area of early childhood intervention, say members of the government-appointed Northern District Community Service Consultative Council.
According to a report in Macau Post Daily, Chan Ian Ian and Leong Lou Ian urged local authorities to promote and increase resources available to children under six years of age with developmental challenges. They also want more financial support for parents with neurodivergent children.
Leong called for a greater number of professional therapists in public institutions specialising in the area of early childhood intervention and said parents should also be taught how to provide some forms of therapy and training at home.
Meanwhile, deputy convener Chan U Iong told media that currently about 300 children in Macau were known to be in need of early childhood intervention, and that almost 60 percent experienced language learning issues. He added that the number of speech therapists in Macao has increased from about 20 in 2017 to 60 at present and was expected to reach more than 100 by 2025.
The Health Bureau, Education and Youth Development Bureau and Social Welfare Bureau jointly established the Children’s Comprehensive Evaluation Centre in 2016, offering therapy and support to children on the autism spectrum, with cerebral palsy, experiencing attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and living with emotional and behavioural challenges, among other difficulties.
The number of service places is expected to increase to 450 by the end of 2023, Macau Post Daily reports.