Last Christmas, the SCMP/RTHK fund-raiser Operation Santa Claus earned over HK$16 million, helping 27 charities realise projects to enhance children's and adults' lives. In this fortnightly series, we revisit some charities to give accountability to our readers and check in with those you helped so much. Ken Leung Kam-wai's mother never expected a training course in circus skills would prove to be the key to opening up her autistic son's world. The eight-year-old had lived in his own world since he was born and it was always hard for him to communicate with others. But this summer, subtle changes began to show after he learned diabolo juggling and plate-spinning through a Circus for All scheme provided by local concern group Treats. Ken's mother could not suppress her excitement when describing how the boy and his elder sister played together, which was rare in the past. 'For him, the outside world seemed too far away and he always played alone in his own world. But now his favourite game is to spin plates and play diabolo with his sister and see whose skill is better,' Mrs Leung said. 'In spinning plates, Ken knows more tricks. He often teaches his sister. 'Another thing that has surprised me is that he has begun to care about others,' Mrs Leung said. Ken is one of the 40 students selected from four special schools across the city to take part in the scheme, which is tailor-made for children with autism, hyperactivity, learning difficulties or other mental problems. As one of the 27 beneficiaries of Operation Santa Claus last year, Treats invited a professional circus artist to teach the children basic skills of diabolo, spinning plates and ball juggling, in the hope of boosting their confidence and help them integrate into society. Under the scheme, 40 volunteers from local companies will also be trained and team up with the children to give public circus performances at the end of the year. 'This is a good opportunity to show that children with disabilities can do something as well as other people,' said Kris Tong Sung-man, Treats' director. Abraham Lee, principal of Hong Chi Morninghill School in Tuen Mun, was surprised at the change seen in a dozen of his students who took part in the course. 'At the beginning, I was really concerned that they might feel frustrated in learning such difficult skills. But it turned out that they grasped so many tricks after only eight classes.' Treats is hoping to make Circus for All a long-term project and offer more intensive training to children with mental disabilities.