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Programme Uniqueness (Family Support)


  • Evaluate the support service provided to families by the three designated NGOs (Caritas – Hong Kong, Heep Hong Society, and SAHK);
  • Identify and compile other less-known family support service;
  • Identify existing and projected service gaps;
  • Promote the dissemination of good practices;
  • Promote family involvement education in the community-setting.

5,000 structured parent support and training sessions will be delivered by three NGO partners (Caritas – Hong Kong, Heep Hong Society and SAHK) to serve over 25,000 parents through 18 satellite centres or parent resource centres in different districts over three years.

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World Health Organization Caregiver Skills Training (WHO-CST)

For Hong Kong Families of Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder, Developmental Disorders or Delays

The increasing rate of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) worldwide


In the past fifty years, the total number of people with ASD worldwide has been on the rise.  According to The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the prevalence rate of ASD in 2014 in the US was one in every 59 children.  In Hong Kong, the Census and Statistics Department revealed that, in 2013, about 10,200 were diagnosed with ASD, 17,700 had special learning difficulties, and 12,800 had attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder.


Why did WHO initiate the WHO-CST?


Many parents of children with ASD, developmental disorders or delays have neither the knowledge nor the tools to face the challenging parenting tasks.  Thus, the children’s well-being often suffers.  In May 2014, the 67th World Health Assembly adopted a resolution on “comprehensive and coordinated efforts for the management of ASD”, supported by more than 60 countries.  With support from WHO, experts, parents’ associations, and Autism Speaks, an autism advocacy organisation in the US, the WHO-CST was developed, and it is currently being implemented in more than 30 regions worldwide.


What is WHO-CST?


The Jockey Club Autism Support Network (JC A-Connect) and the Faculty of Social Sciences of The University of Hong Kong sought and collated the understandings and experiences of experts and caregivers.  Consequently, the adaptation and localisation of the WHO-CST to the Hong Kong context took place in 2018.


The WHO-CST has both individual and group sessions between the participated families and professionals.  It has three individualised home visits and nine group sessions of six to eight caregivers.   The WHO-CST aims, through drawing on external expertise and the shared experiences and skills of the caregivers of two to nine-year-old Hong Kong children with ASD, developmental disorders or delays, to enhance the children’s communication and adaptive behaviours, prevent or reduce the incidence of their challenging behaviours, and promote the caregiver’s well-being.  The programme aims to teach primary caregivers how to successfully engage with, and have good quality shared time with the children under their care.  The principal distinguishing characteristic of the WHO-CST is that a formal diagnosis of any childhood disorder of the children is NOT required as a prerequisite for the caregiver’s entry into the programme.




  • Shared Engagement
    • Caregiver and child jointly engage in play and home routines, while the caregiver uses parenting skills such as look and listen and show and say.
  • Communication
    • Caregiver gives the child chances to communicate to share or request by using words and gestures that matches the child’s ability level and, then, waits to give the child space to communicate.
  • Adaptive Behaviours
    • Caregiver promotes child’s adaptive behaviours by using skills such as praising the child for showing behaviours that the caregiver and others, who interact with the child, perceive to be appropriate and desirable.
  • Prevent Challenging Behaviours
    • Caregiver learns to observe child’s different emotional states, think about the reasons behind challenging behaviours and show the child words and gestures to communicate.
  • Well-being
    • The programme encourages caregivers to take care of themselves, in the belief that if they feel empowered, then they can better support, not only the children in their care, but also the wider family network of these children.


How to join the WHO-CST or become part of this global movement?


Join us as a participant, if you are:

  • Aged 18 or above;
    • The primary caregiver of a child with or suspected to have ASD, developmental disorders or delays;
    • Living with the two to six-year-old target child; and
    • Cantonese speaker.

If you wish to join us as a facilitator who will be trained to deliver the WHO-CST, we are looking for:

  • Professionals and caregivers with experience working with or parenting children diagnosed with, or suspected to have ASD, developmental disorders or delays

Please contact us (Family Support) or click here (please state that ‘I wish to join the programme as a participant / facilitator’ at the column of Other information.) if you are interested in joining the programme.


Becoming part of this global movement


If you join the WHO-CST, you can expect that there will be more positive, happy and meaningful interactions between you and your child.  You will learn skills, through which you and the child under your care can have genuine fun.  When your child is exhibiting challenging behaviours, you will have an armoury of useful skills in order to effectively respond to these behaviours.


Moreover, you will be able to analyse the reasons behind the behaviours of your child.  This understanding will enable you to implement intervention strategies, which will reduce the incidence and intensity of challenging behaviours.


When you have been empowered with the knowledge and skills to respond to your child positively and effectively, you will have more enjoyable moments in the family.  It is expected that your child will demonstrate more adaptive behaviours and fewer challenging behaviours.  Your emotional well-being and quality of life will surely improve. You will also meet other caregivers who share similar issues with you.  Moreover, you can also become someone, who can help to reduce the stigma borne by people with or suspected to have ASD, developmental disorders or delays.  This can be affected through the sharing of your personal experience with those, who may not have had the chance to engage with people with ASD, developmental disorders or delays.


As stated previously, the WHO-CST is being implemented in a lot of regions worldwide.  Your participation and sharing of experiences will serve their part in expanding global understanding of the needs of these children and the means and strategies, through which these needs might be realised.  It is no exaggeration to say that, over time, this accumulation of knowledge and best practice will offer millions of the world’s children opportunities to self-realise, as well as empowering their carers.


Certainly, this participation is designed primarily to help you be a better, more knowledgeable and skilful, more effective carer of a child, who has the capacity to become a functional and productive member of society and who is deserving of the contentment and happiness of any human being, whose basic needs and wishes are understood and catered for.  And it is such a source of excitement and inspiration to be part of a global movement, which seeks to understand and support the needs of children, who, all but invariably, have been regarded with suspicion by mainstream society, and, consequently, ostracised.


*Fee: Fully sponsored by The Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust

**Our multidisciplinary professional team includes clinical psychologist, counsellor, counselling psychologist, educational psychologist, nurse and social worker.

List of Accredited WHO-CST Master Trainers and Facilitators

Master Trainers
Dr. Paul Wai-ching WONG
Dr. Janet Siu-ping LAU
Dr. Nelly Ying TONG
Ms. Kit-sum WONG
Miss Ka-ying LUNG
Ms. Ka-mun WONG
Ms. See-wai LEUNG
Ms. Kwan-yu LEE
Ms. Kit-ping CHAN
Ms. Ching-man CHEUNG
Ms. Ho-fung LEUNG
Mr. Ka-fai YEE
Miss Chiu-yee LUI
Mr. Kwok-hei CHIU
Miss Oi-kwan CHAN
Miss Mancy Man-sze WAN
Miss Daby Tak-yi WAN
Miss Kathy Yuk-yin LAI
Miss Wing-tung LEUNG
Miss Jessie Kam-yu WONG
Miss Ka-yan WU
Miss Mei-wa LAI
Miss Ka-ki SIN
Miss Yuen-chee FUNG
Miss Wing-yan CHUNG