A case for the reconceptualisation of autism in Vietnam
This integrative literature review presents the analysis of social stigmas surrounding autism as being a valuable and effective way of understanding current conceptualisations of autism in Vietnam. Social stigmas are negative perceptions directed towards groups within a population who are perceived to differ from what is considered the societal norm, and are explored in this integrative literature review through the thematic analysis of articles, blog posts, and published interviews. This review explores how social stigmas are developed and maintained, framed within Bronfenbrenner’s Ecological Systems Theory, and provides a conceptual framework to understand how an increase of tolerance for autism can be encouraged. Encouraging tolerance through the tackling of social stigma maintenance can be achieved in a culturally sensitive manner, shown through the consideration of individual experiences of those within the autism community in Vietnam. Other previously stigmatised topics have been shown to have changed in recent Vietnamese society as now being more tolerated and accepted within society, suggesting that internal and external influences can bring about an increase in tolerance. The encouragement of a more flexible and tolerant view of autism could be brought about through a combined effort between the State and the media, education and the service sector, whilst prioritising the opinions of those within the autism community in Vietnam. A holistic approach to increasing tolerance, such as through the framework explored in this review, must be developed in order to be successful.
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