alexa Lao Autism Association

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Lao Autism Association

Association for Autism is a registered non-profit association funded by parents of children with autism in Lao People's Democratic Republic. A self-help group existed since 2005 whereas the association was officially registered on 15.03.2012.The Association for Autism (AfA) represents the interests of persons with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in Lao PDR by promoting their rights, improving their access to appropriate services, and providing them and their families with education, therapy, and training to better equip them to live full and productive lives. On 24. September 2011 the General Assembly adopted the Charta of AfA and approved the regulations of the scholarship fund. During their annual assembly the members of AfA adopted the Strategy and Action Plan for the time 2012-2020.In December 2014 the second executive board now consisting of 5 members and a control board of 3 members have been elected. President of AfA is Mrs. Phokham Douangdala. Mrs. Thongkham Vongsay became Vice-President and Director of Vientiane Autism Center. When the Vice-Minister for Labour and Social Welfare - in this position resonsible for persons with disabilities in Lao PDR - asked how many persons with autism we have in Laos the correct answer was: none. In Laos the development disorder, in the meantime diagnosed in more than one percent of Americas  kids, is not defined. No specialized medical personnel exist to check and diagnose. No experts in special education are trained to deal with the disorder and help those persons to live a joyful and meaningful life, to support their families in order to integrate their members with special needs. In Lao society persons with Autism are regarded as slowly developing or - in more severe cases - as mentally retarded. Treatment starts quite often with putting a frog on the tongue of a small child. It is believed that this will encourage speech development. Later shamans may add some magic blows and spells. Children are stigmatized, sometimes the parents as well. According to widespread belief lack of love for their kids, wrong educational concepts may have lead to abnormities in the development of their child. But of course the development disorder exists in Laos as in other countries. What is lacking are awareness, knowledge and acceptance. That is the challange a group of parents of children with autism started to deal with when they started joint activities.

 

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