Speech sound disorders (SSDs) is a communication disorder in which children (or sometimes adults) find persistent difficulties in saying certain words or sounds at an age appropriate level, posing limitations to their social participation and development. While there are a multitude of SSD subtypes based on their respective causes, there is a lack of tools to accurately diagnose Cantonese-speaking children, without which appropriate treatment approaches cannot be determined. Diagnoses performed by speech therapists are tentative, while treatment approaches are directly adapted from English with questionable efficacy.
The team has designed a full set of tools – an assessment protocol, diagnostic criteria and treatment programme tailored for Cantonese-speaking kids. In this project, they invite practicing speech therapists to professional seminars and workshops, training them to deliver the assessment and treatment service for recruited children with SSDs. These outreach events serve also as opportunities to explore collaboration with relevant NGOs, which support the team with referrals.
Parents of participating children have reported marvellous progress in their participating children’s speech intelligence. Family members have opportunities to consult professionals on how to better help their children. The majority of participating speech therapists have found a gain in knowledge and skills in assessing, diagnosing and treating children. With the tool set ready, they can now find the right antidote.
– 20 children with severe SSDs
– 376 speech therapists
Michael is an expert in ear, nose and throat surgery, with research interests ranging from hearing implantation, communication barrier to minimal invasive surgery. He has been leading the Hearing Implant Program at the Prince of Wales Hospital since 1994 and established the Hear Talk Foundation, a charity foundation for hearing and communicative disorders to serve underprivileged communities both in Hong Kong and China. Michael received his Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery and his Doctor of Medicine at CUHK.
Chief of the Division of Speech Therapy, Kathy is a well-renowned speech therapist specialising in managing children with various communication and swallowing impairments. She frequents community settings to hold talks and workshops for parents and professionals alike. Kathy received her Bachelor in Speech and Hearing Sciences from HKU, and both her Bachelor in Social Sciences and PhD from CUHK.