Hong Kong is still failing ADHD and other special-needs children
I refer to your report on the lack of government support for special-needs children, as revealed in a study that came days after a grandmother was arrested over the death of her six-year-old grandson who was suspected to have a hyperactivity disorder.
It made me relive the heartache and suicidal thoughts I suffered when my eldest son was diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) when he was just about six years old. He is now 38 and has a family of his own. But though he has improved so much after 30 years of battle with himself, he still needs guidance from us.
I remember having to strike him when he was just seven or eight, and then just stroke his head and say sorry when he fell asleep, as a deep depression overcame me.
I received no moral support from friends and family, because ADHD was a “new” thing at the time. My son was plain naughty, as some put it. He was an outcast in school, in church and in other public places, as he just wouldn’t stop moving and would sometimes shout.
During his teens, if you scolded him, he would bang his head against the wall. People said it was natural for an ADHD child to do that. He would pick fights, doing things first without thinking. He would run away from school.
Action comes before thought in most ADHD sufferers. They can be overly smart and intelligent but also overly incompetent. Schools worried about their reputation will not be tolerant to ADHD children. My son’s would ask me to take him away. I could not put him in therapy because I had no one to take him there and I had to work.
If it were now, I would know what to do, as we have the internet and I could talk to other parents facing the same problems. I cannot understand that it has been over 30 years since my son was a child and the government still cannot adequately address the problems that some Hong Kong children are facing, like ADHD.
I would request the Social Welfare Department to be more sensitive to those of us in need of help, to give all children a chance, and for schools to be more patient.
A friend of mine who is a young mother of two toddlers is struggling. But the officer in charge of her in the Social Welfare Department keeps scolding her.
I hope society would be more accommodating and act with greater awareness.
J. Tong, Admiralty