MGM sponsors mobile speech therapy vehicle for children with special needs

Yesterday, MGM launched the city’s first mobile therapy vehicle, “Ü CARE Moving Care and Service Shuttle,” which will travel to different parts of the Macau SAR to conduct speech therapy for local children.
The gaming operator has partnered with Sheng Kung Hui Macau Social Services Coordination Office (SKH) to acquire the shuttle bus, which will allow its speech therapy team to promote speech development in children, making it the first mobile therapy vehicle in the Greater Bay Area.
According to MGM, through the experience of speech therapists, service users and student counselors, SKH has recognized the need for highly accessible speech therapy services.
During the launch yesterday, the gaming operator announced that the “Ü CARE” bus will go to different schools and areas to give residents easy access to a range of services, including consulting, case referrals and educational groups on language development. It will also disseminate information about childhood and speech development to parents and the public.
In Macau, there is still a lack of professionals in this sector who cater to children with special education needs. As a result, current experts in the industry are looking forward to the first group of speech-language therapy graduates from the Macau Polytechnic Institute.
According to Carol Sam, service coordinator at SKH, the ratio of professionals to service users is tight.
“The truth is that Macau lacks professional speech therapists […] so with the local expertise that [we are going to have by 2021], together with the current speech therapists, we are going to have a better service,” she told the press on the sidelines of the event.
“Compared to other [places] such as the USA, Hong Kong and Taiwan, the proportion of speech therapists and children who are in need are in a very tight ratio,” Sam added.
For the service coordinator, speech therapy is also challenging, as training and therapy sessions are conducted in Cantonese. The language is more complicated than English due to the different tones used.
SKH is currently serving more than 100 children and has serviced over 500 children since the launch of its service in 2015.
“Every year, the number is growing because of the growing number of people who are more aware and knowledgeable of [speech delay symptoms].”
SKH will post updates on where the “Ü CARE” bus will be located on its Facebook page. To maximize the use of the vehicle, the association has pledged to cooperate with different organizations and schools in a bid to cater and reach out to more parents and children with special education needs.
SKH has recognized the need for highly accessible speech therapy services with an emphasis on preventive care. With the support and sponsorship of MGM, SKH purchased a vehicle to offer the social service. The 7.2 by 3.5 meter vehicle serves in the “spirit of ‘Offering Personalized Care and Professional Service; Standing with Service Users and Being Innovative and Breaking with Tradition.’”

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