The Development Strategy and Action Plan of Association for Autism has been formally adopted by the Annual Assembly of AfA on 19. December 2012. Before that date the draft of the strategy was discussed by the AfA board and together with relevant ministries, other organisations of persons with disabilities, and development partners. The final round of those discussion was organised as a stakeholder workshop which took place on 29. November 2012.
The Strategy defines as AfA’s vision “Persons with autism can live a fulfilling life in an understanding environment”. AfA’s mission in this endeavour is to “Represent the interests of persons with autism by promoting their rights and improving their access to appropriate support services”.
The strategy further develops the main field of activities as decribed in AfA’s Charta and concentrates on seven areas:
1. Strengthen AfA
AfA as a new institution needs a sound organizational and financial basis in order to be able to fulfill its mandate. This field of action includes the qualification of AfA bodies especially of board members and office staff, the expansion of its membership basis as well as the establishment of branches in the main centers of Lao PDR. Ensure the financial resources and a transparent financial management are parts of this area as well.
2. Disseminate knowledge and raise awareness about autism
Due to the widespread ignorance about autism and other development disorders awareness raising is seen as the precondition for any successful intervention in this field. Target groups are relevant government agencies, but the general public as well. The final objective in this field of action is the development of a definition of autism which allows to determine the magnitude of the problem.
3. Qualifying parents and guardians
As parents and guardians are the key persons for the development of and care for persons with autism they should be able to understand what autism is and how to deal with the problem. They should also know the rights of persons with disabilities. Only be joint efforts of public services, special services provided by AfA and contribution of the parents the situation of persons with autism may improve.
4. Providing services to persons with autism
One major task of AfA is to provide quality services to persons with autism especially in the field of education and therapy. The aim of those services is to improve the live conditions of persons with autism and to enable them to better participate in the society. This includes preparation of participation in inclusive education schemes, vocational training and adequate decent work.
5. Cooperating with experts in the medical field
A proper diagnosis is precondition to any successful intervention. The qualification of experts in this field is therefore as important as a proper definition of autism for practical application in Lao PDR.
6. Supporting formation of experts in special education
Delivery of quality services to persons with autism requires qualified personal especially in the field of special education. In a situation of general lack of experts AfA proposes therefore activities aiming at solving the problem in short, mid and long term. This requires additional inputs from concerned authorities as well as form development partners.
7. Cooperating at regional and international levels
AfA is an active member of the ASEAN Autism Network and cooperates with a wide range of organisations and individuals all over the world supporting the cause of AfA. This cooperation is fundamental for exchange of experience, training of Lao experts and well as for financial support to AfA’s activities.
Some of the main targets for the time up to 2020 are:
– Increasing the membership to 1.000;
– Establish eight branches of AfA;
– Establish a special unit at AfA providing information and advice to parents of children with autism;
– Establish a vocational training centre for children with autism;
– Establish four new education centres for children with autism;
– Support the formation of medical experts able to diagnose development disorders;
– Support the formation of experts in sepcial education.
The complete implementation of this strategy and action plan needs about 2.5 million USD. In order to achieve all these ambitious goals we need support.
The full text of the Development Strategy and Action Plan 2012-2020 can be found here.