On Sunday, June 7, 2015...
I am researching what the effects of defining a person as autistic are for their quality of life in Laos. It is very recent in Laos that anyone has been diagnosed as autistic. In fact, Lao doctors cannot actually diagnose someone as autistic, so parents must take their children to Thailand in order to be diagnosed. That is, of course, if they, someone they know, or a doctor, has ever even heard of autism, and can recommend them to seek diagnosis in Thailand.
I have been working with the Association for Autism (AfA) this summer. They have been absolutely fundamental for helping me to organize focus groups, interviews, and trips to provinces in order to allow me to successfully gather research data. My hope is that, after my research is done here, I can share my research findings with them in order to provide more information that may be of use to their programs.
My research is going really well. I have already held one focus group with some of the parents of children at the AfA and have also held five one-on-one interviews. I was able to use the focus group as the perfect way to answer some of my initial research questions and then create a more in-depth and focused one-on-one interview questionnaire. I am currently in the process of transcribing the interviews I have already conducted, and analyzing them for common themes. I plan to hold ten more interviews during my next two weeks here. I will be traveling to the southern provinces of Laos with the AfA starting this Wednesday, June 10th through this Sunday, June 14th. While there, I will conduct six interviews. These should be very interesting interviews to compare with the interviews that I have conducted here in Vientiane.