Autistic children excluded from disability benefits

By Vietnamplus   April 1, 2016 | 08:47 pm PT
Vietnam does not include autism in its disability law, so autistic children receive little support from the government, according to Nguyen Trong An, deputy director of the Research and Training Centre for Community Development.

An said the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs has been working to address this gap in the law by accelerating procedures to have autism recognised as a disability. Preparations, including providing guidance material on autism and training personnel, are underway.

Relaxed state management concerning medical care and education provided for the autistic community has led to pressing issues. For instance, many education centres and health clinics have been claiming thay can provide a cure for autism. As a result, families have been overcharged for medical or tuition fees, and even worse, some autistic children have been abused.


A medical worker from the National Hospital of Pediatrics tends a child with autism, photo by Vietnamplus.

The director noted that in Vietnam, parents are overloaded with information around autism. A child who learns to speak less quickly than their peers, or is hyperactive, can easily be incorrectly diagnosed with autism despite the fact condition effects only one in many thousands of children.

No official research on autism has been published in Vietnam, but health experts estimate there were between 160,000 and 200,000 children with autism living across the country in 2013.

An stressed the need for real action to protect this vulnerable group and learn from international experience to formulate support policies for these children.

“Early diagnosis of autism results in a better chance for autistic children to live a normal life and integrate into society.”

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