Saigonchildren has just celebrated the start of the new ‘Early Intervention for Children with Autism’ course, with an opening ceremony on the 13th August 2019. The course is sponsored by the Consular Club, a non-profit organisation that aims to help disadvantaged groups across Vietnam and has already supported over 50 charities to combat poverty.
Participants at the ceremony included representatives from the Consular Club, Saigonchildren and Thang Long High School; as well as the children with autism who will take part in the class, and their parents. As part of the ceremony, Ms. Hien Do, Saigonchildren’s Special Needs Education Programme manager, provided an overview of the project, what the aims and objectives are and what the team hopes to achieve through this project.
Ms. Karen Gibbons, representative of Consular Club, shared a few thoughts on why this was an important project to support. ‘I have personal experience with special educational needs; my close friends have an autistic child and have seen the benefits of early intervention. It is very important to support those children in the first stages as this will help them integrate in a mainstream school. Autism experts believe that early intervention is a crucial step in helping and supporting children with special needs. This is why the Consular Club decided to sponsor this project as we know how important it is for children and parents to receive the right support.’
The ‘Early Intervention for Children with Autism’ course will run for 3 months,
Monday to Friday. The course will benefit 30 children with autism and their parents, using a combination of intensive and comprehensive intervention techniques. As well as this, the course encourages parents’ involvement, providing them with methods to communicate and teach their children at home. The mission is to provide appropriate intervention for children with autism, allowing parents to support their children in the best way they can.
This is Saigonchildren’s newest program, started in 2009. Saigonchildren has been working with specialists across Vietnam and international experts in autism, in order to develop and improve the standard of early intervention for children with autism in Vietnam. Without this program families would have to pay for a program at a hospital or special school, which is very expensive. The result is that children with autism grow up without the intervention that would allow them to lead full and productive lives. Helping these children benefits not only them, but also their families, and the society. All the families who are joining this project are in extremely difficult circumstances and will greatly benefit from the guidance, support and expertise provided by the project.
During the ceremony, a parent expressed her gratitude for the project, ‘I am so thankful for the opportunity to take part in this project, even the smallest improvement in my child makes me extremely happy. I am grateful for the effort being made by everyone to help my son and children with the same condition. The project will not only help my son, but it will help me understand his condition better and gain skills that I can use myself to teach and communicate with him.’