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Health Psychol Rep. 2015;3(3):191-200. Epub 2015 Jul 31.

Early identification and intervention services for children with autism in Vietnam.

Author information

1
University of Education, Vietnam National University, Hanoi, Vietnam.
2
Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee, United States.
3
Hanoi University of Education, Hanoi, Vietnam.
4
VinSchool, Hanoi, Vietnam.
5
Vietnam National Institute of Education, Hanoi, Vietnam.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

In high income countries in Europe and North America, early identification and intervention for autism spectrum disorders (ASD) have been linked to improved long-term outcomes. However, in most low and middle income countries (LMIC) little is known about use or availability of such services, which limits the ability of policy and development planning. The purpose of the present study was assess the use of ASD services in Vietnam, an Asian LMIC, in order to identify areas within the field that should be specifically targeted to improve ASD services in Vietnam.

METHODS:

Surveys were conducted in six different cities across Vietnam with 90 parents/caregivers of children with ASD, 115 professionals working with children with ASD, and 10 directors of agencies providing ASD services. Parents/caregivers' survey assessed demographics and information regarding their child's symptoms and services the child received. Professionals' survey assessed their demographic and professional background, the ASD services they provide, and their perspective on the quality of ASD services at their agency. Directors' survey included these same questions as well as additional questions regarding the operation of the agency.

RESULTS:

Early identification and intervention ASD services are available in Vietnam, at least in major cities. However, there is a lack of well-trained professionals, the tools used for evaluation and diagnosis are limited, outdated and unstandardized, and the quality of services is questionable. Most importantly, a scientific evidence base for services is absent, and the country lacks an official governmental policy for supporting children with ASD.

CONCLUSIONS:

Research directly assessing the quality of ASD services in Vietnam is needed. Most centrally, efforts at facilitating governmental policy and support advocacy are needed to increase the likelihood that families and children with ASD will receive appropriate and effective services.

KEYWORDS:

ASD; Vietnam; autism; children; early identification; early intervention; low and middle income countries

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