Switzerland - Article 20

A. LEGISLATION

1.    What legislative measures are being taken in your country to facilitate the mobility of people with disabilities in general? (Accessibility of roads, transport, buildings) when should they apply?

The accessibility of roads, transport and buildings for people with a disability is regulated in national and cantonal laws.

The disability-equity law and the belonging regulations have to be mentioned. Especially for the domains of public transport and roads.

Then there exist normative standards for accessible construction and buildings. Currently normative standards for unobstructed public space are in political consultation. 

 

2.    Are there specific measures for the visually impaired? If so, describe them briefly.

The legislative measures above concern all people with a disability. Of course certain measures are intended for visual impaired people. For example special markings or loud speaker announcements in the public transport. 

 

3.    How are these measures implemented? Are visually impaired Associations associated with their application? If so, how?

There exist special institutions for accessible construction and for a barrier-free public transport. Also there exist special interest groups for people with a visual impairment in the domains of public space, transport, roads and constructions.

 

4.    Have they already produced tangible results?

Yes, but it is an on-going task.

 

5.    What are the penalties for non-application of the above measures?

Some organisations as the Swiss federation of blind and visual impaired people (SBV) are entitled to claim and take position on aspects of accessibility.

B. TRAVEL AID

 

6.    What are the main technical aids used by visually impaired people in your country for mobility: long cane, optical aids, electronic aids, GPS?

Also guide dogs and smartphones (some applications).

6.1.     How are they distributed?

The distribution is unknown. There is no useful data available so far.

 

6.2.     Is training provided during their acquisition?

All regional information and consulting centres for people with a visual impairment provide mobility training. The Swiss federation of blind and visual impaired people (SBV) offers user training for smartphones.

 

6.3.     How are they funded in the acquisition?

The disability insurance funds some of these mobility aids.

 

6.4.     How are guaranteed and financed repairs, maintenance?

Again the disability insurance finances for example the repairs of a broken white cane.

 

6.5.     Is the white cane recognized as a symbol of visual impairment? If yes, specify the conditions related to its attribution, sanctions in cases of abuse, specific provisions regarding its use.

Yes. In the public transport and road traffic the white cane is recognized as a symbol of visual impairment. For example the white cane means right of way in the road traffic (legally determined).

 

7.    Is research conducted in your country to develop new assistive devices? If yes, please specify. How are visually impaired people associated with this research?

Autonomous indoor navigation systems are engineered and tested by some Swiss institutes of technology. These new navigation systems could be helpful for people with a visual impairment in the near future.

C. LOCOMOTION TRAINING

 

8.    How are visually impaired people in your country trained in mobility? (Specify training in the regular school or specialized in functional rehabilitation for people who lose their sight as adults, in the context of structures for the elderly.)

Instructors for mobility and orientation provide training in regional information and consulting centres and in special schools for people with a visual impairment. Children and adolescents in regular school can get the necessary support and training in special schools and institutions.  

 

9.    What is the training undertaken by mobility instructors? Is it recognized by an official certificate? If yes, specify briefly the content of the training. Is there any on-the-job training for mobility instructors?

Professionals for the rehabilitation of blind and visual impaired people. The training course can be completed at the Swiss umbrella organisation for blind and visual impaired people (SZB).   

Yes, the training is recognized by an official certificate.

Training and learning common routes with a white cane or a guide dog.

On-the-job training is certainly part of the training course.

D. AUTONOMY IN DAILY LIFE

 

10.       Help with daily life: how are the visually impaired in your country trained to be autonomous in daily life?

Training in low vision and daily life practical skills.

 

11.       Is there specific support? If so by which professionals is it provided and in what context? What is the training of these professionals?

The special support is called "life-practical skills" (besides training in low vision).

Again professionals for rehabilitation of blind and visual impaired people.

The training course can be completed at the Swiss umbrella organisation for blind and visual impaired people (SZB).

 

12.       Does your country have training for instructors in autonomy? Is there a certificate recognized by the State?

Yes, the training is recognized by an official certificate.

E. PUBLIC INFORMATION AND PROFESSIONALS

 

13.       Is the public informed of the mobility needs of visually impaired people? If yes, by whom and how.

Annually at the 15 October the Swiss organisations for blind and visual impaired people campaign for more public awareness.

    

14.       Do professionals who interact with visually impaired people have any specific training or awareness training concerning visual impairment?

Yes, again the Swiss umbrella organization for blind and visual impaired people (SZB) offers further training for professionals who interact daily with visual impaired people.

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