TV3 News went to Baldoni to visit the family, where two children are growing up. The youngest, Heather, is three years old. She is a cheerful, talkative and very confident girl. The eldest – Roy – is fourteen. He is a special child.
The boy was born prematurely. Was in the hospital for a long time. Doctors’ prognosis was harsh. “I was told all the time that he would not survive, he would not walk, see or hear,” recalls mother Inga.
But Roy’s dad was persistent. Despite everything, his son: walks, sees and hears. Also smiling and happy!
In addition, Roy also attended school. Because he is severely mentally retarded and practically non-verbal, the boy had an assistant and the two got along well. However, due to the low salary set in the country, she left her job. The family was unable to find another. In addition, this coincided with the time when Roy’s aggression increased, so he had to stop school and switch to home education.
“We are losing our assistant because she said she found a better paying job. I had placed advertisements, but no one responded,” says Roy’s mother.
The salary of assistants in the country is so critical that it does not motivate people to do this work. Often, parents have to open their wallets to attract an assistant or become assistants to their offspring themselves. Inga did it too. Left work to take care of my son.
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It is not profitable for me to pay an assistant. Work only for an assistant. Because from the country [atbalsts] is only 200 euros, and no one will come to work for me for 200 euros. It is not an easy job.
The issue of the assistant’s salary has not been addressed in the country for years, says Līga Bērziņa, head of the Latvian Autism Association, emphasizing how important it is to have such a person in the family. Because then the parents can continue to work and be in the community, and their children – get another person to trust.
“The amount of money paid to an assistant, one of the biggest obstacles, because the amount is humiliating, it is not decent pay. And the questions about social guarantees are not settled,” the head of the Latvian Autism Association describes the sad scene.
the head of the Latvian Autism Association describes the sad scene
Usually, people who spend 15-20 years as an assistant to their child, they do not make social contributions, and then the pensions are pitiful. It is not in the public interest for parents to be assistants. Let’s be real, parents die. Considering that children are heavy, they do not have time to take care of themselves and we cannot allow the possibility that the parent is the only one who takes care of the child.
Unfortunately, this is exactly the situation Inga is currently in and she says that she only feels support from her family and friends.
“Rather condemnation from the state, that this is my punishment and deal with it as you wish. I’m glad I have Heather. I understand that I am not married as a mother. That I have a healthy baby. Heterite helps me get through difficult times,” says Inga.
And while the woman’s husband earns a living for the family abroad, Inga spends her day taking care of her son.