Children with autism face difficulties over legal loophole

Vietnam has yet to incorporate autism into its disability law, thus autistic children have received little support from the Government, Nguyen Trong An, Deputy Director of the Research and Training Centre for Community Development, told the Vietnam News Agency.

A medical worker from the National Hospital of Pediatrics tends to a child with autism (Photo: VNA)

According to him, in the last two years, the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs has worked to address the loophole by accelerating a procedure attesting autism as a disability. Preparations, including providing guidance materials on autism and training personnel, are underway.

Meanwhile, the relaxation of state management concerning medical care and education provided for the autistic community has led to some pressing issues. For instance, many educational centres and health clinics were established defrauding people with a false hope that they can cure their loved ones who suffer from autism. As a result, many families were overcharged for medical or tuition fees, and even worse, some autistic children were abused.

An noted that in Vietnam, parents have been overloaded with information around autism – a mental problem that causes people to be unable to communicate properly or to form relationships with others.

Thus, a child who learns to speak less quickly than its peers, or is hyperactive, can easily become incorrectly suspected of having autism, he said, adding that in fact, the incidence of autism is one in many thousands of children.

He said no official research on autistic people has been published in Vietnam, but health experts estimated in 2013 that there were between 160,000 and 200,000 children with autism living across the country.

An stressed the need for real action to protect this vulnerable group, particularly by relevant agencies, which he said should learn from international experience on the issue and make support policy available to these children soon.

“Early diagnosis of autism results in a better chance for autistic children to live a normal life and integrate into society” is the message worth spreading, he said, concerning the role of the media.

According to him, the most important factor in helping autistic children improve lies in their families, especially the parents.

Vietnamnews

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