As I mentioned in my recent magazine feature, there’s progress on the issue of disabilities in Chinese society and more people now realize the value of providing support to people with disabilities (PWDs). Children with disabilities or learning difficulties that make learning harder for them can be described as having special education needs (SEN). For families, it’s comforting to know that kids could get help especially when the hurdles of growing up come around.
In the international education field in Beijing, there’s an active community of SEN educators and teachers, as well as WeChat groups for parents with kids with special needs. If you like to be added to the groups, leave us a message in the comments section below.
Here we update the list of educational institutions, NGOs and agencies, and international schools that offer additional learning support services. Some of the listing details here are adapted from the Beijing section of the US State Overseas Schools office-provided guide on Beijing schools.
Agencies, Educational Institutions, and Groups
China Disabled Persons’ Federation (CDPF) is a national umbrella organization for persons with diverse disabilities. The CDPF is established in March 1988 and its mission is to promote the full participation of persons with disabilities in society equally with others, ensure that persons with disabilities share in the material and cultural achievements of society, and foster humanitarianism across society as a whole. The CDPF is assisting related departments to formulate and implement education and job training plans for disabled people, including research and promotion of the Braille alphabet and sign language. No. 186 Xizhimen South St., Xicheng District. (6658 0228)
Beijing Stars and Rain Education Institute for Autism aims to help organizations face the challenges of economic pressure (conflicts between charging standards and costing) and technical pressure (how to provide quality services based on professional technology; how to train teachers; how to gain parental trust), and promote the development of the autism services industry. For more information, visit their website (in Chinese) Beijing Xingxingyu Education Research Institute. 4172 Shuangqiao Donglu, Chaoyang District. 北京市朝阳区双桥东路18号院4172号 (8537 3485, email@example.com)
China Little Flower works to build a culture of life by reaching out to those who are rejected, abandoned, deemed as useless, and who have no voice. Whether by direct care, support, or education, China Little Flower seeks to show the value of each human life and build a culture that respects, protects, loves, and serves life. Their projects include hospice care for orphans; group educational foster care; special care for infants; long-term care for severely disabled children; and special causes. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
The Learning Frontier provides support to enhance children’s development in the areas of speech, language and communication, motor, learning, behaviors, and mental health. Their multidisciplinary team of internationally trained specialists is dedicated to ensuring your child’s success in school and community. 4th Floor, No.11 Dongbai Street, Chaoyang District. 北京市朝阳区东柏街11号四层 (6775 3268, 6775 3273, email@example.com)
LIH Olivia’s Place provides world-class, multidisciplinary pediatric therapy services to children of all abilities and all ages. Their services include pediatric therapy consulting services: occupational, physical, and speech therapies, psychology services, ABA, and learning support with multinational staff that provides consulting services in English and Chinese, as well as several other languages. 13 Jiu Xian Qiao Road, Building 6-1, Second Floor, Chaoyang District. 北京市朝阳区酒仙桥路13号6-1楼2层 (6461 6283, firstname.lastname@example.org)
Click/tap the school name to see their profile.
3e International School
Children with special needs are considered on a case-by-case basis to ensure that all their needs can be met if admitted.
Beijing City International School (BCIS)
BCIS offers whole-school, comprehensive Student Support services. A secondary school counselor, a middle school counselor, and an elementary school counselor complement and support the work of one Early Childhood Center learning support (LS) teacher, two elementary school LS teachers, one middle school LS teacher, and one secondary school LS teacher.
The Student Support program exists to ensure that the individual needs of all students are met. The program merges the expertise of guidance counselors and LS teachers to create a more inclusive service that is better able to support a wider range of student needs. The counselors support students with social, emotional, or behavioral needs, as well as facilitating entrance to tertiary education. The LS teachers, in collaboration with classroom teachers, support students at both ends of the learning continuum, including students with learning needs and students who are highly capable.
Acceptance into the school for children with mild to moderate special educational needs is made on a case-by-case basis.
Beijing International Bilingual Academy (BIBA)
BIBA is a flexible inclusive school, which means they only accept the students they can support. Currently, they have a school-wide student support team, including two special education teachers in the elementary school who provide behavioral and academic support to students who have mild needs. BIBA also has two sensory rooms built in the elementary school designed to meet student’s individual needs. In kindergarten to Grade 5, one period a week is reserved for a social-emotional lesson, created by the school counselors. The ECC and MSHS will be adding student support staff in the coming school year. BIBA is committed to meeting the needs of all of their students, including those who are differently-abled; therefore, their support team is growing every year.
The British School of Beijing, Sanlitun
The school does not offer a comprehensive SEN program. They do have trained SEN specialists within their network of schools and work with professionals and organizations locally. The school endeavors to work with families to ensure that they have provisions in place to cater to the specific needs of their child. The school offers the support of a one-to-one teaching assistant for any student that may need the additional support during their lessons.
The British School of Beijing, Shunyi
In BSB Shunyi, the Inclusion Department consists of a Leader of Inclusion, Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCO), Special Educational Needs (SEN) Teacher and Counselor. The SENCO in collaboration with the Leader of Inclusion plays a key role in determining the strategic development of the Special Educational Needs policy, support, and provision in the school to raise the achievement of children with special educational needs.
The SENCO will coordinate additional support, Individual Education Plans (IEPs) and Action Plans for pupils with special educational needs and liaise with their teachers and other professionals who are involved with their education. The counselor supports children’s needs when they are going through a difficult time; this can be emotional, social, or behavioral. For children, it can be difficult to talk about their problems with their family, teachers, or friends and they might prefer to talk to someone that isn’t a part of their life. The counselor gives them the chance to share their feelings in a safe and non-judgmental environment. By using different therapy, such as play and art therapy, the feelings of the child will be explored.
The School has a few SEN certified teachers that work with a small portion of students as part of the mainstream program.
Canadian International School of Beijing (CISB)
The Canadian International School of Beijing (CISB) Special Educational Needs (SEN) philosophy supports the school’s core beliefs of ‘Respect and dignity for all people’ and ‘The power of teamwork and cooperative learning’. The purpose of CISB SEN Policy is to increase the likelihood that children with Special Educational Needs in the school will make progress and grow in confidence in their own abilities and to help the students become independent, motivated and life-long learners.
For more information about CISB’s SEN philosophy, visit this page.
Dulwich College Beijing (DCB)
Dulwich College Beijing’s Learning Support Department consists of a team of specialist teachers, assistant teachers, and counselors who work with students, teachers, and parents to ensure that individuals are progressing and successfully meeting their learning goals.
Students with learning disabilities will be admitted to Dulwich College Beijing in accordance with the school’s admission policy. In addition to this, their Learning Support Department will meet with students who have additional educational needs to ensure that they are able to provide the necessary resources and support for students’ needs. The placement of students with communication and interaction difficulties, cognition and learning difficulties, or sensory and physical needs will be determined by the level of support that is required on a case-by-case basis.
Description of current interventions: The Learning Support Department delivers a range of in-class and pull-out support. The department currently offers interventions for mathematics, spelling, reading, executive functioning skills, self-esteem, social use of language and handwriting. In addition to this, the school counselor is available to support students with social, emotional or mental health issues. The department works closely with the student, parents, and class teachers to ensure that the school creates a successful and supportive team around the child.
Ganeinu International School
Ganeinu International School accepts a wide range of special needs students. We create Individual Education Plans for all students in order to identify a student’s gifts and challenges. We have very small class sizes and a high teacher-to-student ratio, ensuring the least restrictive learning environment. We consult with outside specialists as necessary in order to provide individualized support for each child.
The International Montessori School of Beijing (MSB)
MSB offers students with exceptionalities equal learning opportunities with peers in the mainstream classroom. The school’s team of Learning Support specialists work collaboratively with classroom teachers in ensuring a meaningful and positive learning experience for students with additional educational needs. They are working with students requiring mild to intensive support and delivers “push in” and “pull out” strategies for children with exceptionalities depending on each students’ needs to maximize their learning potentials and keep with classroom dynamics. In-school occupational and speech therapy facilities and services are also available. MSB’s Learning Support staff serves children who are diagnosed with global developmental delays, speech and language disorders, dyslexia, dyscalculia, dysgraphia, ADHD, ASD, OCD, Tic disorders, and anxiety disorders. All school placement applications are evaluated through interview and testing.
International School of Beijing (ISB)
Learning Support Policy: In support of the mission, purpose, and philosophy of the school, as existing space and resources allow, students with mild to moderate learning differences will be admitted in accordance with the school’s admissions policy. This might include students with learning disabilities, ADHD and some high-functioning students on the autistic spectrum. However, placement in the learning support program is not based on diagnoses. Placement is determined by the level of support needed to be successful.
Description of Services: At this point, the school does not have self-contained classes for students who require a separate curriculum. Most services are provided through a push-in, inclusion model, with the exception of first and second grades in which a pull out model is utilized more frequently. Presently, they have ten learning support teachers, one speech and language pathologist and a director of student support services who also covers the school psychologist position. The school tends to use a modified response to intervention model (RtI) as the referral identification process. The modification is that they use standardized assessments as well as curriculum-based to inform intervention.
Decisions regarding admission and services for a student will be made on a case-by-case basis within the
policy parameters. The school does not have an educational program for:
- A student with intensive learning needs.
- A student who requires a self-contained learning environment with separate curriculum.
- A student with significant cognitive, developmental, physical and/or emotional needs/disabilities.
- A student who exhibits a continual pattern of behavior in the classroom that is disruptive to the learning
- The Student Support Team generally consists of an Administrator or designee.
Western Academy of Beijing (WAB)
Enrichment Support Program: WAB believes that while all their students have strengths that must be valued and promoted, there are students whose educational needs are different from their age peers due to the nature of their gifts. To ensure that the needs of students identified as gifted are appreciated and supported, the WAB curriculum provides a flexible range of options to assist gifted students to maximize their potential. Learning experiences within the classroom are regularly differentiated, and in collaboration with WAB’s gifted support services, strategies such as flexible grouping, curriculum compacting and extension, and enrichment of the core curriculum are offered, as appropriate. In order to facilitate appropriate provision for gifted students, WAB will assess the students’ levels of ability and achievement. Multiple criteria are used whenever possible.
Yew Chung International School of Beijing (YCIS Beijing)
The Student Support Services Team offers a comprehensive network of resources to support and care for Yew Chung International School of Beijing students, parents, and staff. Comprised of Learning Support Services, Student Counselling, and University Guidance Counselling, Student Support Services features a full team of specialized staff members that is committed to creating a safe and familial learning environment and empowering students to be successful at YCIS Beijing.
Students who need learning support are admitted upon the same requirements as other students. They must be able to be successful in the mainstream classroom with minimal outside support services. At YCIS Beijing, diversity is important, and parents who think their child might require the services of Student Support can contact School Admissions as early as possible. Additionally, parents are encouraged to engage in dialogue with school staff during the application process in order to ensure a match between the student’s learning needs and the levels of support available at YCIS Beijing.
(Editor’s note: Several school listings here are extracted from the US Department of State “Overseas Schools Offering Support to Children with Special Needs 2016-2017“)
With contributions from Nina Krafft, social media coordinator of Special Education Network of Beijing.
Photos: Flickr (US Army); courtesy of featured organizations