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Vietnam still has no legal framework on education of autistic children

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There are about 200,000 autistic children in Vietnam, but the law has no content regulating their educational treatment.

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Vietnam still has no legal framework on education of autistic children

 

Nguyen Thanh Tam, a mother from Hanoi, cried at a workshop and said she felt worthless after failing to enroll her child in kindergarten. The boy was refused by all the kindergartens she had contacted.

Hoang Van Tien, director of the National Fund for Vietnamese Children, said the biggest problem is that Vietnam still doesn’t have an educational policy for autistic children, though the issue was mentioned 10 years ago.

Scientists are still arguing about autism. Medical professionals do not consider autism a disease, while psychologists consider this a kind of behavorial disorder. 

"It is difficult to set policies without scientific evidence," Tien said.

Bui Sy Loi, deputy chair of the National Assembly’s Social Affairs Committee, confirmed that issues related to autism, especially to children, cannot be found in any law, government decree or ministry circular. 

If autistic children cannot receive necessary support, they will meet difficulties in integrating into society. More seriously, social problems will arise as the children may take actions that harm themselves and other people.

He stressed that state management agencies must be responsible for autistic children, and that it is the Ministry of Labor, War Invalids and Social Affairs (MOLISA) which has to come forward and integrate autistic children into society.

Loi thinks the issues could be covered by the Disability Law or other laws related to autism.

“If the issues cannot be covered by a separate law, they must be at least found in government decrees or ministry circulars,” he said.

The support for autistic children includes training of teachers for autistic students and provision of knowledge and skills to parents so they have can communicate and help their children.

According to Deputy Minister of MOLISA Nguyen Thi Ha, Vietnam still has not conducted any official survey to find the exact number of autistic children. The ministry estimates there are about 200,000. However, WHO (the World Health Organization) believes the figure is 500,000. 

Meanwhile, medical centers confirmed that the number of children coming for examination and treatment has been increasing since 2000.

Some special intervention centers have been set up in localities where autistic children can receive long-term treatment. However, the high treatment costs are a burden on poor families.

 

Source: VietNamNet

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