Home Institution

Macalester College

Publication Date

Fall 2012

Program Name

Vietnam: Culture, Social Change, and Development


This paper examines the many implications of living with Autism in Vietnam on both affected children and their families. The lack of information, statistics and awareness of autism in Vietnam is reflected in the limited treatment resources available. This study calls attention upon what problems parents are most affected by what they feel needs to change. It also looks at the current sentiment and understanding of autism and its perceived causes. The results of this paper come from background research, observation at clinics and special education facilities, interviews with professionals in the fields of psychology and education, interviews with parents of affected children and a survey distributed to 41 parents.

The results of this study indicate that there is a lack of awareness and understanding of Autism by both medical professionals and the general population. Parents are not satisfied by the diagnostic process and the resources they are provided with by doctors. They are also generally not satisfied by special education facilities but there are several schools in Ho Chi Minh City that indicate a potential for progress. Autism has significant implications on parents but they are willing to make extensive sacrifices to ensure the success of their children. The findings also indicate that there is a more modern perspective developing among the current generation of parents in Ho Chi Minh City. Traditional values that lead parents to feelings of shame and guilt are being replaced by a motivation to spread awareness and understanding of autism. The new generation is proactive, well-informed and determined to make sure their children are successful. These findings suggest that there is a need for standardization in the diagnostic process and a new special education curriculum that has been adapted to fit Vietnamese culture.


Civic and Community Engagement | Family, Life Course, and Society | Inequality and Stratification | Mental and Social Health | Public Health Education and Promotion | Social Psychology and Interaction


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