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Caregivers of Children with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities in Vietnam – Giang Thi-Huong Le

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Caregivers of Children with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities in Vietnam - Giang Thi-Huong Le

Globally, most children with intellectual and developmental disabilities live in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Children’s disabilities interact with other child and family dynamics, conditions, and characteristics to influence family outcomes. It is known, for example, that families with children who have an intellectual and/or developmental disability are at higher risk of social marginalization and exclusion from education. Meanwhile, the literature pertaining to how to best support children and families living with intellectual and developmental disabilities generally lacks evidence from these resource-constrained settings. There has been limited but growing interest and efforts to better represent children and families from LMICs in the literature on intellectual and developmental disabilities. These initiatives have paid particular attention to structural, socioeconomic, and cultural differences and examined how these factors might limit the generalization of research evidence and lessons learned across various contexts. For example, there have been attempts to investigate caregivers’ experiences and support needs, and caregiving beliefs and practices concerning children with intellectual disabilities,9 among others.

This project aims to further these efforts by examining the literature regarding caregivers’ experiences and support needs in the rather under-investigated cultural context of Vietnam. In the last decade, as the number of children diagnosed with intellectual and developmental disabilities in Vietnam increased rapidly, the demand for intervention services appears to be also on the rise, along with an expansion of the workforce in disability-relevant fields.10 While the literature on intellectual and developmental disabilities in Vietnam remains significantly lacking, recently more attention has been paid to critically examining the current state of service provision and support for children with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families. There are a small number of studies that focus on understanding the experiences and support needs of caregivers, who play the most critical roles in providing care and support for children. Some support programs and initiatives implemented by the government and civil society organizations have also been documented, providing further insights into their implementation process, effectiveness, value, and lessons learned. Systematic studies have been conducted regarding interventions, rehabilitation, and parent support programs for children with intellectual and developmental disabilities in low- resourced settings, such as in South Asia.11–13 Therefore, a scoping review of caregivers’ experiences, needs, and support programs is timely to capture the existing evidence and to identify research, implementation, and policy gaps in Vietnam.

To achieve this goal, this scoping review is guided by the following research questions:

  • What is known about the experiences and support needs of caregivers of children with intellectual and developmental disabilities in Vietnam?
  • What support programs, initiatives, and interventions to support caregivers have been implemented?
  • What are the outcomes and lessons learned?

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