Viengsam Indavong is leading the conversation of Autism in Laos

Did you know that in Laos there is no word for Autism?

In fact, the first time that Viengsam Indavong heard about Autism was when her son was diagnosed with the disorder and her life changed – for the better!

After hearing the diagnosis, Viengsam started a journey to ensure that children like her son receive the chance of a good education.

Together with other parents facing the same challenge, she launched the Lao Autism Association. The first of its kind in Laos, the Association is now helping scores of children to get an education. Children learn and play and are helped to prepare for and attend mainstream schools. Viengsam says that she and the other parents used all their passion and love to set up the Association, but they needed more knowledge and skills to provide even better support for the children.

Viengsam was inspired to complete a Masters in Disability Policy and Management at Flinders University with the help of an Australia Awards Scholarship. Today Viengsam leads a ground-breaking organization in Laos that raises awareness, advocates for the rights of people with autism and provides much needed services.

For Viengsam, her experience of Autism is personal “I have a healthy and cheerful 15-year-old son with Autism. He came into my life to help me grow into a better and wiser person. Being his mother has paved the path to who I am today, made me realize the meaning of unconditional love, understanding and acceptance.”

Viengsam Indavong’s; Laos Autism Association now marks its 10th year anniversary, with plans to expand the support and services across the country!