At the age of four, when most of his peers were learning to read and write, Ryan Lu was learning to read lips.
Ryan was diagnosed with profound hearing loss in both ears at birth and had to undergo surgery to insert a cochlear implant when he was two years old to help him hear.
But even then, his hearing was impaired - so he taught himself to read lips to make sense of the world around him. Besides his hearing loss, he also has low muscle tone around his jaw, which affects his speech articulation. On Monday (Jan 14), he was one of 26,750 students across the country who received their O-level results. The Hai Sing Catholic School student did well enough that he should be able to get into his dream school this year, Anglo-Chinese Junior College, according to his teacher Mrs Wong Shu Xian. Now 16, Ryan has come a long way since failing his exams as a Primary 1 pupil at St Stephen's School, when he did not know how to read.
He said: "My mother sent me for a lot of phonetics lessons so I could learn to read and speak better. It was a few times a week." His mother works as a financial consultant while his father, who works in real estate, is based in China. Hai Sing Catholic School students reacting as they collect their O Level results in the school hall on Jan 14, 2019.
As he grew older, Ryan studied on his own at home. When he was preparing for the O levels, he also attended tuition class for physics and mathematics. He is able to learn in a regular environment, although Hai Sing Catholic did make arrangements for him to have fewer changes in teachers so he can get used to how they speak. He also used a frequency modulation (FM) wireless assistive listening device. It consists of a transmitter, worn by the teacher, and a receiver that he wears. Ryan also sat near the front of his classroom so he could read his teachers' lips. He was exempted from Chinese due to his articulation problems, as well as English oral and listening comprehension.