HKU hosts the “I’m Little but Not Less: Have I a place in your school?” Symposium
25 Apr 2015
Many patients with rare skeletal disorders (such us Dwarfism caused by skeletal dysplasia) have conditions of abnormal bone growth, leading to a relatively short stature compared with average children. Due to their “special appearance”, they have to face many difficulties during their life. Parents of these children always find it frustrating as their children are rejected by schools of their choice, only because of their special health conditions.
In view of this, Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine, The University of Hong Kong (HKU) and Little People of Hong Kong have co-organised a symposium entitled “I’m Little but Not Less: Have I a place in your school?” today (April 25, 2015) at Cheung Kung Hai Conference Centre, Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine, HKU. The symposium served as a platform for teachers, students, social workers, care providers and the public to understand more about the needs of “Little People” as well as to help educators create a better and safer learning environment.
In his opening address, Dr York Chow, Chairman of Equal Opportunities Commission, said, “Enabling every child to access equal opportunities to pursue their education is central to our city’s future success. Even though most people with short stature can lead independent lives and make meaningful contributions to society, just like everyone else, they are often mischaracterised and marginalised. We must work together to widen awareness and mainstream the values of diversity and inclusion, starting with our children in the school environment. This is the foundation that we need for a truly inclusive society.”
Ms Victoria Bewsey, principal of ESF International Kindergarten (Tsing Yi), and Ms Chan Chui-ling, principal of St Mark’s Primary School emphasised the importance of creating an inclusive and supportive learning environment for children with special needs in their talks. “We support children with dwarfism by setting an individualised education plan, working closely with support agencies and parents. With small adjustments and modifications, the school environment can be fully accessible. We teach children that ‘being different is being special!’” said Ms Bewsey.
Professor Danny Chan, Assistant Dean of Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine, HKU and coordinator of this programme was delighted with the outcome that brought together different sectors of the community in education in one place and to openly discuss the difficulties that people with rare diseases can face, and examples that with loving care, there are solutions for Hong Kong to move forward as an embracing society. As a researcher in rare bone diseases, the discussions have heightened his desire to finding medical solution for these children.
This event is one of the highlight activities under the HKU Knowledge Exchange Project “Little People Care Alliance” (“LPCA project”). For more details of the symposium and the LPCA project, please refer to the website: http://www.biochem.hku.hk/lpca. There is also an exhibition at the lobby of William MW Mong Block displaying some highlights of the previous activities of the LPCA project from April 25 to May 8, 2015.
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Speakers and guests took a group photo after the “I’m Little but Not Less: Have I a place in your school?” Symposium.
Professor Danny Chan (Left), Assistant Dean of Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine, HKU presents souvenir to Dr York Chow (Right), Chairman of Equal Opportunities Commission.
Dr York Chow, Chairman of Equal Opportunities Commission, points out that enabling every child to access equal opportunities to pursue their education is central to our city’s future success.
Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine, HKU and Little People of Hong Kong co-organised “I’m Little but Not Less: Have I a place in your school?” Symposium, which serves as a platform for the public to understand more about the needs of “Little People”, as well as to help educators create a better and safer learning environment.