Director: Dr Alma Au
Co-director: Dr. Charles C. Chan
                     Prof. Daniel Shek 
Project Associate: Ms Kammie Lai
Core Committee Members: Prof. YC Chan, Ms Eunice Choy, Dr. William Chu, Dr Daivid Ip, Prof. Cynthia Leung,
Dr Lu Huijing, Mrs. Helen Yu-Ku,

Adjunct specialist members: Dr Raymond Chan, Mr. Joseph Lau

The Department of Applied Social Sciences of The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) set up The Hong Kong Polytechnic University Yan Oi Tong Au Suet Ming Child Development Centre for Giftedness (Child Development Centre) with the support of Yan Oi Tong, to provide all-round services including educational psychology, parent training, and child education for local organizations serving children and adolescents.

 

 

The purpose of the Child Development Centre is to promote child development.  With a quality environment for learning and development, we hope that every child will have an opportunity for gifted development.
Both parents and teacher play an important role in child development.  The Child Development Centre will focus on:

  • Child education to teach children an effective emotional management and to enhance their attention
  • Training for teachers to enhance their professional knowledge and skills, to equip them to promote child intellectual development and learning.
  • Parenting education to equip parents with the knowledge, skills and techniques to promote child development in all domains including brain function development, social skill development, emotional and behavioural management.
   

In response to the rising demand for all-round child development, PolyU also launched the Master of Educational and Child Psychology (MECP) programme in 2009 and the Master of Applied Psychology (MAP) in 2012. These programmes aim at training a group of workers who wish to work in educational settings and organizations that are relevant to child-adolescent workforce development.  The Child Development Centre will provide a platform for the training of MECP as well as MAP students.

   

 

 

Rigorous research is important to ensure that services to parents and children are effective.  Towards this end, the Child Development Centre will:

  • Engage in research to develop reliable and valid local instruments measuring child development, learning and behavior, as well as parenting.
  • Collaborate with professionals in the evaluation of programmes and services for children and parents, to promote evidence-based practice.

 

1. Child Development Project (CDP)

In 2012, this project was implemented and aimed to promote holistic positive child development by enhancing teachers and parents to acquire relevant attitude, knowledge and skills in building a quality and nurturing environments (both in schools and homes) for learning. The ultimate goal was to provide children an opportunity for optimal development. Children reach their full potential when parents and teachers acknowledge the importance of child-centred education. Often development problems can be resolved with minimum conflict when adults react sensitively to the child’s uniqueness. It is critical that adults respond to the child’s strength, weakness, interest, personality, and learning style. Assessment to identify high potential children was based on the N.O.I.S.E model. Children are Nominated, Observed, Investigated, Selected and Endorsed for high cognitive abilities. Various established psychological assessment tools are used. The belief is we can recruit high-potential children through systematic evaluation of objective evidences to supplement initial subjective nominations by parents and teachers. Assessment was conducted by registered psychologist.
In this project, 500 children were nominated and assigned to small groups for assessment for non-verbal paper pencil tests. Among them, 75 children with high intellectual potential were further assessed using the WISC-IV (Hong Kong). Educational workshops on positive child development were also offered for parents and teachers. Parents were expected to have better understanding of their child’s strengths and weaknesses and be motivated to invest their time and efforts to nurturing and laying the early foundation for lifetime learning. They would be more competent to provide emotional support to their child. Parents were also expected to make a commitment to cooperate with school to promote their child’s positive self-concept, developmental and intellectual abilities including academic, creative, and leadership abilities. In the training workshops, both parents and teachers would acquire the right attitude, knowledge and skills in nurturing the children. Parents were expected to become change agents in cooperation with school to promote positive child development. Teachers could become peer mentors for further development of the project.

2. A Randomized Waitlist-Controlled Trial of an Enhanced Triple P – Positive Parenting Program for Chinese Children with ADHD in Hong Kong

Carried out in collaboration with the HKPU Educational Psychology Trainees This pilot study adopted the Triple P, namely Positive Parenting Program (Sanders, 1999), and examined its effectiveness for Chinese children with ADHD in Hong Kong. Cases had been referred to us from the United Christian Hospital. The Triple P, derived from social learning principles, aims to prevent and improve children’s behaviour problems by increasing parent’s knowledge, skills, and parenting confidence. One of the unique characteristics of the Triple P is that it adopts a mixed mode with face-to-face sessions in group and also telephone consultation sessions in individual. It includes homework with concrete content for the parents to do at home between the group sessions. The use of telephone consultations enhances access to service and treatment adherence as well as attention to individual needs.
At post-intervention, parents in the intervention group reported significantly lower intensity of child’s disruptive behaviour and indicated a significantly increase in perceived sense of efficacy competence in parenting than those in the waitlist-controlled group. The treatment gains still maintained after 3-month follow up. Last but not least, focus group was conducted to interview the parents in the intervention group to ask about their opinions in relation to how this program induced positive changes among themselves and their children. Parents revealed that a deeper understanding of what the child is going through had helped them to develop better empathy and resourcefulness to cope with the child on a daily basis. The qualitative results were informative for tailor-making future parenting intervention in ADHD in the Chinese contexts. A paper has been submitted to an international journal for consideration of publication.

3. Evaluation of Behavioral Parent Training (BPT) for Parents of Children with AD/HD in the Local Community Setting

Funded by the Social Welfare Department, this pilot study was in collaboration with the Boys’ and Girls’ Clubs Association with its territory-wide network of centres in Hong Kong. The project aimed to examine the effectiveness of an 8-session behavioural parent training (BPT) in a local community setting (Hong Kong). The BPT is one of the most widely behavioral interventions used for parents of children with behavior problems (Pelham, Wheeler, & Chronis, 1998; Weisz & Jensen, 2001). It is based on a foundation of social learning principles that teach children more socially acceptable behaviors by training primary caregivers in contingency management strategies, emphasizing behavior modification, cues, consequences, reward systems, and discipline (Chronis, Chacko, Fabiano, Wymbs, & Pelham, 2004). It also assumes that appropriate and inappropriate behaviors of children are maintained by parents, who provide important cues and consequences for the child's behavior (Maughan, Christiansen, Jenson, Olympia, &Clark, 2005). In this pilot study, there were in total 162 participants. The child disruptive behaviors and the reported parental stress were measured to evaluate the effectiveness of the BPT program. In addition, the maintenance of the BPT program was evaluated two months after the intervention. Results suggested a strong effect size for reducing the disruptive behavior of the child. The report will be submitted to the Social Welfare Department over the summer.

4. A Randomized Controlled Trial Study of Computerized Cognitive Training (AttenGo) in Adolescents with Attention Deficit/ Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

In collaboration with several non-government agencies and parents’ associations serving children with attention problems, this pilot study aimed at investigating the effectiveness of a computerized cognitive training program, AttenGo, on a group of children and adolescents with ADHD in Hong Kong. Cognitive training is based on the concept of skill training in which the different components of cognition are considered as skills that can be improved by training. The training usually requires participants to involve in a series of repetitive exercises that provides them the chance to practice on tasks with increasing attentional demands. Repeated practice of certain cognitive processes is theorized to facilitate the adaptation of the underlying neuroanatomical network (Kern, Eso, & Thomson, 1999). AttenGo is an individualized online software designed for individuals aged 6 or above with ADHD. Improved parent-reported attention and hyperactivity symptoms were shown by a group of children and adolescents aged 6 to 17 after 6 month’s training (Gottfried, 2005). The outcomes were expected that the children in the intervention group would exhibit a significantly lower level of inattention and hyperactivity symptoms and parents in the intervention group would also report lower parenting stress. The study will be completed on August, 2013.

 

Planned projects to be started in September 2013:

Project One: Differential outcomes of social inhibition in development: Interaction between child temperament and maternal parenting
The present study aims to investigate the direct and interactive effects of child temperament and maternal parenting on preschool-aged children’s developmental outcomes in terms of their internalizing and externalizing behaviors and levels of social competence, academic competence and school readiness. It will recruit a community sample of about 500 mother-child dyads from 12 local kindergartens. Assessment of internalizing and externalizing behaviors will be conducted at multiple time points in a 16-month period. The present study will also test the efficacy of a selective, temperament-based parent intervention program in helping socially inhibited children in reducing negative development outcomes.

Project Two: Early assessment and intervention for enhancing attention and behavioral control in preschool children
Built on the existing track record on the previous studies at the centre, the project will develop and validate a seminal model specific to the needs of Hong Kong Chinese pre-school children. Carried out with major international centres of both sides of the Atlantic Ocean, specific of the project are as follows:

  • To develop an evidence-based early detection and intervention model for preschoolers with high levels of ADHD symptoms
  • Identification of barriers to treatment success for high-risk families (including those living with low socio-economic status) through literature review and interviews with the parents
  • Based on the data collected, tailor-making an enhanced ADHD parenting program for the high-risk and potentially difficult to treat children.

Project Three: Neurofeedback for Children with Diverse Learning Needs
Neurofeedback has been recently recommended as an important intervention for children with diverse learning needs by many international guidelines. The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence has, for instance, recommended this as almost essential for treatment for attention difficulties. The procedure involves a simple and safe procedure of monitoring and altering the child’s brainwaves to a focused yet relaxed state when playing computer games. Our pilot study at the Centre has identified substantial gains in objective tests of attention after ten sessions of treatment (Au et al. In press.). We have already formed a network with the major child centers of the Hospital Authority to refer cases to us. We have also formed a core team of assistants with recognized basic training. And the work will be carried out with the BrainClinic at Nijmegen, Netherlands, a leading international center in neurofeedback.

 

香港理工大學(理大)應用社會科學系得仁愛堂資助成立「香港理工大學仁愛堂歐雪明兒童資優發展中心」 (兒童發展中心),為更多本地兒童及青少年機構提供全方位的發展支援服務,當中包括教育心理、家長培訓以及教育兒童。

 

香港理工大學仁愛堂歐雪明兒童資優發展中心旨在促進兒童發展,讓每一個兒童都有機會在一個優質的成長及學習環境,發展他們的潛能。
兒童的發展深受學校和家庭影響,兒童發展中心會發展:

  • 兒童培訓 – 教導兒童有效的情緒管理方法,訓練並提升專注力。
  • 教師培訓 - 提昇教師的專業知識和技巧,促進兒童的智能發展和學習。
  • 家長親職教育 - 裝備家長有關兒童發展的知識和相關的親職技巧,以促進兒童各方面的發展,包括腦功能發展、社交技巧、情緒以及行為管理。
   

為迎合社會對兒童多方面發展的需要,理大於二零零九年及二零一二年起開辦教育及兒童心理學碩士以及應用心理學碩士學位課程,藉此培訓一群有志為兒童、青少年服務的人士,提供心理學的應用知識與實踐培訓。兒童發展中心亦為應用心理學碩士及教育及兒童心理學碩士學生提供一個培訓的平台。

   

 

要提供有成效的服務,嚴謹的研究是十分重要的。兒童發展中心將會

  • 通過研究發展有信度和效度的本土研究工具,例如兒童發展及學習、兒童行為及家長親職問卷。
  • 與專業人士合作,評估兒童及家長服務的成效,促進實證為本的服務。

 

現有項目主要集中於兩個範疇:
一、整體開發及提升擁有高智力潛質兒童的正面發展。


二、為患有過度活躍症或專注力不足的學童提供專注力訓練和控制不良行為的多元素心理介入。


現有項目如下:


一、「明心」伴童行潛能發展計劃
這個項目從2012年開始實施,旨在通過加強教師和家長有關於建設有質量和適宜的學習環境(無論是在學校和家庭)相關的態度、知識和技能的掌握,全面促進兒童的正面開發。我們的最終目標是為孩子們提供一個獲得最優化成長的機會。當家長和老師承認以孩子為中心的教育的重要性時,兒童可以充分發揮其潛力。透過觀察,具備較高認知能力的孩子們會被家長和教師們提名,其後由註冊心理學家更進一步觀察,研究,篩選、評估和確認。心理學家運用各種既定的心理評估工具(例如:韋氏兒童智力量表-第四版(中文‧香港版)),務求提供客觀以及有系統的證據發掘到擁有高智能潛力的兒童。
與此同時,我們也向家長和老師提供了與兒童正面開發相關的教育研討會。我們預期家長們將對自己孩子的長處和弱點有更深入的瞭解,並受到激勵去投入時間和精力培育子女和為終身學習奠定早期基礎。他們會在為自己的孩子提供情感上的支援中表現得更加勝任。我們還預期家長們會承諾與學校合作,促進他們子女的積極的自我概念,拓展性和智力性的能力,包括學術能力,創造性和領導能力。在培訓講習班中,家長和老師都將獲得培養孩子的正確的態度,知識和技能。家長有望通過與學校合作,成為促進兒童正面開發的變革的推動者。教師可能在該項目的進一步發展中成為朋輩導師。

二、香港過度活躍症兒童提升版3P正面家長教育課程 (Enhanced Positive Parenting Program)
這個研究計劃採用了3P (triple P) 理論,即正面家長教育(Sanders, 1999),並檢驗其對患有過度活躍症的香港兒童的有效性。3P理論,來源於社會學習原則,旨在通過增加父母的相關知識,技能和為人父母信心,來防止和改善兒童的行為問題。3P理論的獨特特徵之一是它採用面對面的小組會談與個案電話諮詢相結合的混合模式。它包括在每兩次的小組會談間隔中,為父母們設計的有具體內容組之間的家庭功課。使用電話諮詢提升了我們對服務和治療相關事宜,以及個案的個性化需求的瞭解。
在介入結束後的一段時期內,介入組家長報告他們孩子的破壞性行為強度顯著降低,並且與對照組相比,他們表示自己對教養效能的感知能力明顯增強。這個收穫在治療結束後3個月仍然得以維持。同樣重要的是,介入組家長在隨後進行的焦點小組採訪中被問及這個項目是如何引起自己和孩子之間的積極變化的。家長透露他們更深地瞭解到自己的孩子正在經歷什麼,這幫助他們更好地建立同理心和機智去應對與孩子的日常生活。定性的結論對未來在香港文化背景下,為過度活躍症的兒童度身定做介入方案提供了內容豐富的參考資料。
一篇基於該研究成果的論文已遞交國際期刊審議出版。

三、香港過度活躍症兒童的家長行為教養訓練評估 (Behavioural Parent Training)

這項試點性研究由社會福利署資助,與香港小童群益會在全港範圍內的中心網絡進行合作。該項目旨在檢驗在本地社區環境中為期8次的行為教養培訓(BPT)的有效性。BPT為外國最廣泛使用,為有行為問題兒童的家長設計的行為介入訓練之一 (Pelham, Wheeler, & Chronis, 1998; Weisz & Jensen, 2001)。該訓練基於一個基礎社會學習原理,通過訓練家長對突發事件的管理策略,教導家長一系列的改善兒童行為的方法(包括:行為改進、提示、獎賞計劃和注重紀律),藉以教授兒童在社交中較為人們接受的行為 (Chronis, Chacko, Fabiano, Wymbs, & Pelham, 2004)。這項試點研究共有162個參與者參加。研究的結果顯示行為教養培訓能有效地大大減少兒童的破壞性行為。此外,項目的訓練成果在訓練結束2個月後仍然得以維持。
該報告將在今年夏天提交社會福利署。

四、香港過度活躍症兒童及青少年電腦認知訓練(AttenGo)

這項試點性研究與一些非政府機構及服務於有專注力不足兒童的家長協會合作。該研究的目標是檢驗一個明名為AttenGo的電腦化認知訓練程式能否有效地提升本地患有過度活躍症兒童及青少年的專注力AttenGo是一款為6歲或以上過度活躍症兒童提供個性化訓練的線上軟體。認知訓練基於技能訓練概念,當中提倡不同的認知元素可看成一種技能,可以通過訓練而有所提升。培訓通常要求參與者參與一系列的重複練習。在集中力需求不斷增加的任務的情況下,為他們提供了練習的機會。相關理論認為,對特定認知過程進行反覆實踐有助於相關神經網路的形成(Kern, Eso, & Thomson, 1999)。
在一組經過6個月該培訓,介於6至17歲的兒童和青少年樣本中,受試者父母提供的報告顯示受試者的集中力和過度活躍症狀得到改善(Gottfried, 2005)。本研究的理想預期結果為介入組的兒童表現出顯著較低水平的專注力不足和過度活躍的症狀,以及介入組家長也將報告較低的教養壓力。這項研究將於2013年8月完成。

 

將於20139月展開的項目如下:

項目一: 兒童成長過程中社交抑制所造成的差異性結果:兒童氣質與母親管教方式的互動
本研究旨在調查學齡前兒童氣質和母親教養之間直接及互動方式的影響。研究影響的成長範疇包括他們的理解吸收和對外表達的行為,以及社交能力,學術能力和對上學的準備。本研究將從本地12個幼稚園招募約500個母子二人組合社區樣本。理解吸收和對外比表達的行為評估將在16個月期間的多個時間點進行。本研究也將測試一種選擇性的以氣質為基礎的教養介入方案,對幫助社交受到抑制的兒童減少負面後果的效能。

項目: 對學前兒童提升注意力和行為控制的早期評估和干預
該項目建立在本中心現存記錄的學術研究之上,將針對香港學前兒童的需求,開發及驗證一個開創性的介入模型。該項目將與大西洋兩側的主要國際化都市聯手合作,其具體內容如下:

  • 開發一個以證據為基礎,為具有高過度活躍症狀的學齡前兒童設計的早期檢測和介入模型
  • 透過文獻回顧與家長訪談,探討高風險家庭(包括那些生活在較低經濟社會地位環境中的家庭)所面對的困難,從而識別出對成功治療帶來障礙的因素。
  • 根據收集的數據,為具有高風險的和潛有難以治療傾向的孩子度身定做一個增強版的過度活躍症的教養計劃。

項目: 為具有不同學習需要的兒童進行神經反饋功能優化
神經反饋技術最近被許多國際準則推薦為對有不同的學習需要的孩子的一種重要介入方法。例如,國家健康與臨床卓越研究所推薦這項技術對於治療集中力困難,幾乎是必不可少的。該過程涉及一個簡單而安全的程式,監測和改變孩子的腦電波在玩電腦遊戲時達到專注而放鬆的狀態。
我們在中心的試驗性研究已經通過客觀集中力測試,確定了經過十個療程治療後的參與者獲得了可觀的改善(Au et al. In press.)。我們已經與醫院管理局統轄的主要兒童中心形成了一個合作網絡,以獲取轉介的個案。我們還建立了由受過被認可的基礎訓練的工作助理組成的核心團隊,並將與位處荷蘭奈梅亨的一個國際領先的神經反饋中心BrainClinic開展工作。