When Hui Man-kwan was just a year old, she suffered severe burns in an accident involving hot ginger soup. The girl sustained burns across 70 per cent of her body and lost the ends of seven fingers, making it very difficult for her to learn to read, write and use a computer when she went to school. But after 19 separate skin transplants and plastic surgery operations and extensive support from her family and school, Hui has notched up two A grades and one B in her A-levels. The 19-year-old student at the Hang Seng School of Commerce is one of five students with special needs to gain two or more A grades in this year's A-levels, following a 30 per cent increase in the number of students applying for special exam arrangements. Picking up her results slip at the Sha Tin school yesterday, Hui said: 'Due to the disability, I am a very slow writer. I need to do much manoeuvring to turn the pages of a book. 'The burns cover my chest, feet and hands and I have had to overcome my mental fear of being stigmatised by other people because of my appearance. I was afraid to talk to others face to face in the past.' Hui said she had now overcome her fears thanks to a lot of psychological support from her school and family and even felt confident enough to swim in public. The school had also given her extra support and time to write papers, and the Examinations and Assessment Authority had allowed her an extra hour for each subject to complete her A-level exams. Wheelchair-bound Ma Yuet-kwan of CCC Ming Kei College in Shek Kip Mei scored three A grade A-levels despite suffering from the muscle-wasting disease muscular dystrophy. The 20-year-old student, who had to take a 15-minute break every hour or two during the exams because of sore hands, gained As in biology, chemistry and the use of English and Cs in physics and Chinese language and culture. Ma said studying at a mainstream school had helped her achieve good results and she felt vindicated in her decision to switch to a mainstream school after starting at a special needs school. 'The exposure I get in a mainstream school is broader,' she said. 'There are all kinds of students, just like in real life. Exchanges with different schoolmates have benefited my learning and broadened my horizons.' Ma, who wants to study psychology at Chinese University, said her schooling was severely disrupted in January when she caught a bad cold, which can have serious consequences for patients with muscular dystrophy. 'For the first few days, I was determined to carry on with my studies,' she said. 'But soon it worsened and I had to stop. I took more rest at home and luckily after a month I was fine.' Kiki Chung Hoi-ki, 19, a science student at P.L.K. Vicwood K.T. Chong Sixth Form College, scored two As and two Bs in her A-levels, despite being visually impaired. She has a detached retina and is severely short-sighted, but overcame her reading difficulties to secure As in physics and chemistry and Bs in the use of English and biology. She was allowed an 15 extra minutes to complete each three-hour exam. Chung, who hopes to study medicine at the University of Hong Kong or Chinese University, said she had to regularly visit hospital when her visual problems were first diagnosed in Form One. 'I was so impressed by how caring the medical staff were - standing by me against all odds - that I decided to study as hard as I could to become a doctor, so that I could help other patients in the same way,' she said. Lam Hui-ping, 18, of Kwok Tak Seng Catholic Secondary School in Sha Tin, who is colour blind, gained A grades in her biology and chemistry A-levels. Vice-principal Wong Wai said other students helped Lam during chemistry experiments, when she needed to see the colour of chemicals, and she had been given exam papers printed in black and white. Exam authority secretary general Francis Cheung Wing-ming said it was heartening that five special needs students had gained two or more A grades. The authority had arranged to accommodate an increasing number of such people and ensure fair assessment of their work.