Anna's experience sharing with the Autism community in HCMC, Vietnam

Anna's experience sharing with the Autism community in HCMC, Vietnam

 

In January, this year during a visit to Vietnam I had the great pleasure to meet the staff, parents and some students from Gia Dinh Special School in Ho Chi Minh city.

I was overwhelmed with the beautiful, warm welcome that I received from Khoai, the staff and the parents.  It was a great start to a very productive and fun day.

With the use of an interpreter I was able to share with parents many myths around autism which we have found can be very helpful to dispel for CALD (culturally and linguistically different) families in Australia.  This opened the discussion about some parent’s fears of disclosing a diagnosis and the shame some families feel in certain cultures.  I emphasised that in all the research conducted to date that there wasn’t anything to indicate that any of the parents who had children with autism had caused their child to have autism in any way.

The main discussion topics were:

  • Main features of autism
  • Behaviour
  • Sensory processing and it’s impact on behaviour and in the classroom
  • Social skills

There were lots of great questions from parents around the future for their children and we discussed how difficult this can be to predict even with a neuro typically developing child.  We looked at the importance of being aware of a child’s needs and helping them to reach their potential and being the best advocate possible as a parent for each child.

It became very apparent throughout our discussions that there was a wealth of information readily available especially amongst some of the teaching staff who had great strategies developed for dealing with some sensory issues and modifying some behaviours.  I urged the parents to network and share information and support each other as this has been proven to be extremely beneficial for parents in Australia on their journey of supporting children with special needs.

It was very apparent that Khoai and all the staff from Gia Dinh Special School are very passionate and work extremely hard to support the children and their parents.

I feel blessed to have had this experience and wish all the staff and parents of Gia Dinh Special School the very best for the future.

Anna Jordan

NSW Autism Advisor Program