Autism consulting room is already open

The project is made thanks to its supporter — the company "X Infotech"!

"Everyone, especially the most vulnerable part of society – children, has the right to receive high-quality medical services," says Sergejs Jeļisejevs, co-owner of "X Infotech". "I hope this project will help our children smile more often - that's what means to me a lot!"

The autism consulting room will be as an open-type room in the Children's Hospital "Gaiļezers", where parents or care takers who raise ASD children can receive free psychological help. The visual design of the room was created thanks to the architect Andra Šmite who donated her work to the project. The room arrangement has been carefully thought out and designed so that the room for children with ASD is safe, creates pleasant feelings and enables them to fully participate in the activities.

The great contribution to the development of website www.autismsberniem.lv was made by Head of the Autism Society of Latvia Līga Bērziņa, clinical psychologist Zane Kronberga, Head of the Children's Hospital Psychiatric Clinic Ņikita Bezborodovs, Head of the Mental Health Rehabilitation Department Irina Trušina, and the Autism Association of Wales — "ASD Info Wales", www.adsinfowales.co.uk, a non-governmental organization in Great Britain that provides both informative and practical support for children and adults with ASD.

Thanks to their responsiveness, the Children's Hospital Foundation was able to translate many valuable informative materials that were posted on the new website. The information on the website is intended not only for parents but also for professionals working in both healthcare and education, as often the lack of information on how to contact a child with ASD makes it difficult to carry out professional duties.

"If your child has recently been diagnosed with ASD and you do not know what to do next; if you suspect your child may have ASD; if your child has ASD and you cannot find an approach to your child; if you have other questions or you have a feeling that you cannot cope with the difficulties related to your child’s ASD, feel free to apply for a consultation, and we will help you find solutions!" invited Marija Legzdiņa, Head of the office of the Autism consulting room, the clinical psychologist of the Children's Hospital.

The Autism consulting room is a continuation of the Children's Hospital Foundation’s initiative to expand support for children with autistic spectrum disorders, since, regularly receiving information from parents and other NGOs and consulting with industry professionals, it was concluded that children with ASD have very limited access to professional, modern and a state-funded service. The first support provided by the Children's Hospital Foundation was the introduction of ASD diagnostics in the Children's Hospital in early 2017, when the Foundation paid for specialist trainings and test materials, while the Children's Hospital provided a specialist who provides this service.

"When we studied the situation, we concluded that a majority of children whose parents lack the financial ability to pay for treatment and diagnosis, which is an expensive service, remains without help. The Autism consulting room and home page, when assessing the available financial and human resources, is currently the most realistic opportunity to provide a free service, but we are aware that the consulting room will not be able to provide all the necessary assistance. We see this project as an important point of support where parents and care takers can get information and practical skills in communication and work with their children, but the problems of availability of different types of therapies remain. Therefore, we are already thinking about other support options, and I am very grateful to the contributor – "X Infotech", as well as the Children's Hospital Psychiatric Clinic and the Hospital administration for their responsiveness, time and resources!" — expressed the gratitude Liene Dambiņa, Head of the Children's Hospital Foundation.

In 2015, childhood autism was registered for 303 children in Latvia, however, according to the World Health Organization data for 2017 which indicates that 1 out of 160 children has ASD, the diagnosis is likely to affect a significantly larger number of children.

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