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Resource Kit to Enhance Social Skills Among Autistic Students

From left: Ms. Kan Pui-kei Peggy, research assistant, Prof. Lee Yuet-sheung Kathy, associate professor, Prof. Tong Chi-fai Michael, professor, Department of Otorhinolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery of CUHK; and Ms. Mak Yuen-Mai, project officer of Caritas Rehabilitation Services; introducing the resource kit
Members of the research team demonstrating the use of the resource kit

The Department of Otorhinolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery and the Institute of Human Communicative Research of CUHK have jointly formed the Hong Kong Social Thinking Research Team with the Rehabilitation Service of Caritas and the Education Bureau to develop a training approach and resource kit that can effectively enhance the communication skills of students with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). The team is going to promote the approach to local mainstream secondary schools.

Introduced by the research team, the 'social thinking training' approach prompts students to contemplate the details of daily social activities and the reasons behind every social interaction (verbal or non-verbal). Two research projects in local schools were launched in 2008 and 2012 respectively. Significant improvement was observed in the areas of initiating interaction, perspective taking and active listening among ASD participants.

With the support of the Knowledge Transfer Fund of CUHK and the Quality Education Fund, the research team has developed a training programme with a resource kit that is specific to the local language and culture. It is designed for secondary students with social communication deficit (e.g. ASD, ADHD) in local mainstream schools. The kit illustrates daily scenarios with colourful comics and explains in detail the use of 'social thinking vocabulary'. A Social Thinking Vocabulary Booklet is included as a visual teaching aid. The resource kit will also be distributed to all mainstream local secondary schools via the Education Bureau.

A training seminar on 'social thinking training' was held in June. Due to overwhelming response, another session of the seminar will be held on 16 October. For details please visit here.