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Obstacles prevent necessary treatment of autistic children

Update: October, 14/2015 - 09:07
Autistic children are treating at the National Paediatrics Hospital. Misperception, lack of early detection and low awareness of parents are the main obstacles that hinder the social integration of autistic children in Viet Nam. — Photo thanhnien.com.vn

HA NOI (VNS) — Misperception, lack of early detection and low awareness of parents are the main obstacles that hinder the social integration of autistic children in Viet Nam, experts said at a recent seminar on autism in Ha Noi.

Speaking at the seminar, which was part of an event held on Sunday for 300 families with autistic children to interact and discover, health experts said that the biggest challenge in tackling autism was the limited understanding of autism spectrum disorders.

Autism was often perceived as sickness and a ‘domestic problem' rather than a long-term developmental disability which needs support from the government, they said.

The experts also said it was difficult to access services for early detection, early intervention and social inclusion due to lack of services, low awareness of people and discrimination.

Many parents were unaware of the signs of autism to take early action; development screening has not been incorporated into routine care for young children. In addition, intervention services for children were insufficient and exceed the affordability of many families, they said.

Dr Nguyen Thanh Mai, a pediatrics lecturer of Ha Noi Medical University, said in the courses for doctors, her university had recently added to the curriculum the content related to examination and diagnostics to detect early signs of autism.

However, doctors in remote and disadvantaged areas did not often have opportunities to update knowledge on this issue, she added.

One of the solutions given out during the event is the launch of a software which allows parents, caregivers and health workers to screen for early detection of developmental disorders and autism spectrum disorders. The software also provides information for early intervention at home, help researchers and software developers to better understand the current status of the child to make appropriate interventions.

Experts also said the government should pay more attention to the children and families of children with autism as it has for deaf children to reduce pressure for families with children with autism.

Dr Hoang Yen, senior lecturer at the Institute of Education Management under the Ministry of Education and Training said the programme could help parents access and detect early signs of autism in their children with five red flags which health organisations recommended.

Yen said that parents or anyone who wanted to learn about the programme could find it online at a365.vn, adding that the programme was popular and good for parents.

The event was jointly held by the Centre of Creative Initiatives in Health and Population, Viet Nam Autism Network and Ha Noi Club for Children with Autism.

Although there is no official figure of children detected with autism in Viet Nam so far, the National Hospital of Pediatrics (NHP) reports increasing numbers of patients every year. — VNS

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