Children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and other special education needs (SEN) are often labelled as unproductive, their emotional and behavioural distress is sometimes a burden to parents and teachers. But in fact, many of them are exceptionally talented. Some are gifted with sensitive vision, others are strong in rule-based thinking and can stay very focused on certain interests. With proper nurturing, these children can also carve out a niche of their own.
Based on her 30 years of research, Prof Agnes Chan founded Pro-Talent Association in 2016. Starting off with programmes that nurture SEN children’s brain functions and social communication skills through the integration of neuropsychological intervention with musical components, the social enterprise has evolved into providing consultation, neuroscience-based clinical assessment and training for children with ASD, ADHD and dyslexia, boosting their attention, impulse control, language and socialisation skills. They also serve adults with brain disorders, as well as individuals striving to maximise their brain potentials for better performance.
In addition to personalised target-oriented clinical training, Pro-Talent organises group training at schools and their own centre.
For the past few years, Pro-Talent has served nearly 200 SEN children with their clinical neuropsychology service, individual and group-based training. Teachers and parents alike reflect that the kids have improved significantly in terms of attention, self-control, self-confidence and social communication. Many become capable of handling academic requirements in mainstream schools.
Among them, a 6-year-old child with ASD and moderate grade mental disabilities exhibits 26 times longer attention span following 9 months of clinical training. With 6 months of training, another 6-year-old child with dyslexia and ASD has made a huge leap from 0 to over 80 marks in dictation. Pro-talent is actively getting in touch with more primary schools to offer their service.
SEN children and their parents
Agnes is both a clinical neuropsychologist with 30 years of clinical and research experience in training children and adults with cognitive disorders, and a person who appreciates the essences of traditional Chinese culture. Her unique brain-based clinical approach is an integration of her enriched knowledge in brain science research and Chinese medical philosophy; her research findings are widely covered in top-ranking journals as Nature and Cancer.
Agnes received her PhD from the University of California at San Diego, and later the Early Career Award from the American Psychological Association in 2004.