Iceland - Article 26

(updated 08/01/2018)

Law and Policy

  1. Is there a legal right to habilitation and rehabilitation services in your country?

    The Act on the Affairs of Disabled People, No. 59/1992, states in Article 8 that disabled people shall be provided with services designed to enable them to live and work in an ordinary community with other people and services for people with disabilities shall be provided with the aim of enabling them to live and function in a normal community along with other people. These support services shall be provided in each region in the manner most appropriate for each locality. They shall be based on the need for services in their homes aimed at ensuring them the possibility of maintaining their households independently. and on the need for habilitation, rehabilitation and employment, the aims of which include enabling them to support themselves and participate actively in the community.
    The National Institute for the Blind, Visually Impaired and Deafblind, usually referred to as „The Center“ is a public institute governed by the Ministry of Welfare. The Center provides services mainly in the rehabilitation and education area and does not provide initial medical diagnosis or medical treatment. The Center was established with the Act on the Service and Information Center for the Blind, Visually impaired and the Deafblind No. 160/2008
    see also an English translation of the Act

     

    Please describe relevant laws and give links to further information for:

    • a. Health

      The Center provides services mainly in the rehabilitation and education area and does not provide initial medical diagnosis or medical treatment. In the Health Service Act No. 40/2007 it states in Article 1 that its objective is that all people of Iceland shall have access to the optimum health service which it is possible to provide at any time in order to safeguard mental, physical and social health.
      In the Act on the Affairs of Disabled People, No. 59/1992, it states in Article 7 that disabled people shall be entitled to all ordinary services provided by central and local government. Attempts shall be made at all times to provide disabled people with services according to ordinary statutes in the field of education and the health services and social services. If the needs of a disabled person prove to be too great to be met within the framework of the ordinary services, the person shall receive services under this Act.”

    • b. Education

      The Act on the Center No. 160/2008 states in Article 1 that its goal is to increase the opportunities of those who are blind, visually impaired or deafblind to be active and participate in all areas of society on the same level as others, with an emphasis on support for education, an independent household, active leisure activity and employment. In Article 4(3) the support for education at al school level is listed as: a) Counselling and giving courses for parents and the staff of educational institutions on the education environment and teaching methods. b) Student counselling c) Specialised teaching. d) Evaluating the need for specially designed educational material, such as tactile material, enlarged print educational material, braille material or digital material.

    • c. Employment

      The Act on the Center No. 160/2008 states in Article 1 that its goal is to increase the opportunities of those who are blind, visually impaired or deafblind to be active and participate in all areas of society on the same level as others, with an emphasis on support for education, an independent household, active leisure activity and employment. In Article 4(5) Support for employment participation is listed as: a) Job counselling and b) Assistance and counselling in adjusting to a new workplace, such as regarding to the environment, going about, assistive devices and education for fellow employees.

    • d. Social Services

      In the Act on the Affairs of Disabled People, No. 59/1992, it states in Article 7 that disabled people shall be entitled to all ordinary services provided by central and local government. Attempts shall be made at all times to provide disabled people with services according to ordinary statutes in the field of education and the health services and social services. If the needs of a disabled person prove to be too great to be met within the framework of the ordinary services, the person shall receive services under this Act.
      The Act on the Center No. 160/2008 states in Article 1 that its goal is to increase the opportunities of those who are blind, visually impaired or deafblind to be active and participate in all areas of society on the same level as others, with an emphasis on support for education, an independent household, active leisure activity and employment. In Article 4(1) which lists the tasks of the Center it states that there is counselling provided by pshychologists and social counsellors due to circumstances associated with the handicap.

  2. Is there a legal right to assistive technology, aids and equipment? (i) Blind persons (ii) Partially sighted persons

    Yes the Act on the Center No. 160/2008 states in Article 4(1) that it’s role is amongst other the evaluation of the need an distribution of special assistive devices that are not provided through the social Insurance Administration or the National Hearing and Speech Institute.

  3. Do laws on rehabilitation recognise and support participation in all aspects of community life?

    The Act on the Affairs of Disabled People, No. 59/1992, states in Article 8 that disabled people shall be provided with services designed to enable them to live and work in an ordinary community with other people. Services for people with disabilities shall be provided with the aim of enabling them to live and function in a normal community along with other people. These support services shall be provided in each region in the manner most appropriate for each locality.
    The Act on the Center No. 160/2008 states in Article 1 that its goal is to increase the opportunities of those who are blind, visually impaired or deafblind to be active and participate in all areas of society on the same level as others, with an emphasis on support for education, an independent household, active leisure activity and employment. In Article 4(2) it states that the one of the main roles of the Center is the transmission of material for education, leisure or work. In 4(4) there is support for independent living such as training in the daily tasks of life and training in living life to the full. Then in 4(6) there is support for leisure activity in training in social interaction and self confidence.

  4. Are there policies on habilitation and rehabilitation services for people who are blind or partially sighted?
    • a. For children who are (i) Blind persons (ii) Partially sighted persons

      Visually impaired and blind children are one of the top priorities of the Center. Children make up 7% of their customer group but receive the most service. Visually impaired children in Iceland are included in mainstream schools which are the responsibility of the local government. Services to children include:
      - Teaching and advising to schools, teachers, students and parents. Team approach for each student in cooperation with school, teachers and parents.
      - Mobility and independence training at home and in school.
      - Training and teaching in computers and related technology. Encourage more use of technology.
      - Emphasis on Braille education and increased literacy. Creation of appropriate materials determined by student's needs in Braille print and/or large print books.
      - The Center emphasizes that low vision customers also learn Braille not just blind individuals.
      - The Center also conducts many seminars regarding Braille for students of all ages, teachers and parents.
      - Further education of teachers.

    • b. For adults of working age who are (i) Blind persons (ii) Partially sighted persons

      The Act on the Center No. 160/2008 states in Article 1 that its goal is to increase the opportunities of those who are blind, visually impaired or deafblind to be active and participate in all areas of society on the same level as others, with an emphasis on support for education, an independent household, active leisure activity and employment. In Article 4(5) Support for employment participation is listed as: a) Job counselling and b) Assistance and counselling in adjusting to a new workplace, such as regarding to the environment, going about, assistive devices and education for fellow employees.

    • c. For older people who are (i) Blind persons (ii) Partially sighted persons

      The retirement age in Iceland is 67 years. People who are 67 years old and older make up 73% of the Center‘s customer group. Due to age, the services this group recevies centers around independent living. Services to older people include: - Being independent. Being able to stay in their home, go outside, walk, exercise and do recreational things like sewing and knitting, keeping active and being able to participate in social life.

  5. Do policies recognise the importance of a personalised multidisciplinary assessment of each individual´s needs and circumstances? Please describe the policies and give web links to more information, for people who are: a. Blind persons b. Partially sighted persons

    There are no government policies regarding habilitation and rehabilitation. The Act on the Center No. 160/2008 states in Article 1 that its goal is to increase the opportunities of those who are blind, visually impaired or deafblind to be active and participate in all areas of society on the same level as others, with an emphasis on support for education, an independent household, active leisure activity and employment.
    The Center has professionals such as teachers, mobility officers, a social worker and a physiologist that provide services based on individual needs, in the environment the client requests.

  6. Are there policies on developing peer support for habilitation and rehabilitation?
    • a. For children (please also include policies on family support) who are (i) Blind (ii) Partially sighted
    • b. For people of working age who are (i) Blind persons (ii) Partially sighted persons
    • c. For older people who are (i) Blind persons (ii) Partially sighted persons

      Not applicable.

  7. Are there resources for peer support services?

    Not applicable.

  8. Do blind and visually impaired people and their organisations fully participate as equal partners in the development of policies and standards for habilitation and rehabilitation services?

    Before the National Institute for the Blind, Visually Impaired and Deafblind, was established a committee of the Ministry of Education was established to form a policy regarding the right to education for blind persons and partially sighted persons. The Committee was formed with participants Blindrafelagid, the Icelandic Association of the Visually Impaired. This policy laid the foundation for the Act on the National Institute for the Blind, Visually Impaired and Deafblind which was also written in collaboration with Blindrafelagid, the Icelandic Association of the Visually Impaired.

Access to Habilitation and Rehabilitation

Support Services

  1. Are there dedicated services for both partially sighted and blind people that meet their distinct needs? Are these habilitation and rehabilitation services focussed on supporting independent living in the community living for people who are:

    The Act on the Center No. 160/2008 states in Article 1 that its goal is to increase the opportunities of those who are blind, visually impaired or deafblind to be active and participate in all areas of society on the same level as others, with an emphasis on support for education, an independent household, active leisure activity and employment. In Article 4(4) there is support for independent living such as training in the daily tasks of life and training in living life to the full. Then in 4(6) there is support for leisure activity in training in social interaction and self confidence.

  2. What is the full range of services in your country

    The Center is a service, resource, education, and rehabilitation center and has an overview of the circumstances of blind or visually impaired individuals and coordinates with other entities to provide appropriate services. It also conducts training, consultation and support for families, schools and other service institutions. Focus regarding services is based on the individual and his/her specific needs. Most of the training and rehabilitation is done on individual basis particularly in:
    - Mobility and Orientation
    - Daily Living Skills
    - Computers and technology
    - Social counseling
    General services include:
    - Eye examinations and evaluation of sight.
    - Records and certificates.
    - Counseling by social worker and assistance with social insurance and benefits.
    - Provide assistive devices and education in how to use the equipment.
    - Training and education on computers, software and related technology.
    - Training in mobility and independent living.
    - Assistance and counseling to schools at all levels.
    - Teach Braille to students, teachers and family.
    - Custom eyewear and eye prosthesis.
    - Refunds for eyewear.
    - Braille and large print material and books.

  3. How is eligibility determined to access habilitation and rehabilitation services for

    Individuals seek services at the Center based on a referral from an ophthalmologist . The Center has professionals such as teachers, mobility officers, a social worker and a physiologist that provide services based on individual needs, in the environment the client requests.

  4. Who provides habilitation and rehabilitation services (for example, dedicated blindness and low vision rehabilitation and support centres, hospitals (private and public), NGOs)?

    The National Institute for the Blind, Visually Impaired and Deafblind, usually referred to as „The Center“ is a public institute governed by the Ministry of Welfare. The Center provides services mainly in the rehabilitation and education area and does not provide initial medical diagnosis or medical treatment.
    The Center was established with the Act on the Service and Information Center for the Blind, Visually impaired and the Deafblind No. 160/2008
    see also an English translation of the Act

  5. Are services available locally in all parts of the country?

    In the Act on the Affairs of Disabled People, No. 59/1992, it states in Article 7 that disabled people shall be entitled to all ordinary services provided by central and local government. Attempts shall be made at all times to provide disabled people with services according to ordinary statutes in the field of education and the health services and social services. If the needs of a disabled person prove to be too great to be met within the framework of the ordinary services, the person shall receive services under this Act.
    The Center provides services in all parts of the country but it is located in the capital of Reykjavík. Every two years staff from the Center visits each quarter of the country and more often if individuals seek their services in between these visits.

  6. How are services funded (for example, free, paid for by the user, means tested)?

    The Center has professionals such as teachers, mobility officers, a social worker and a physiologist that provide services based on individual needs, free of charge, in the environment the client requests. Services are therefore based on the ability and the needs of the client and not age. The Center is responsible for refunds for children under the age of 18. In order to receive a refund, the application must include a signed referral from an Ophthalmologist or an optician. The refunds only refer to lenses and do not include the frame. The refunds are based on the following guidelines:
    Children from 0 to 3 years old twice a year.
    Children from 4 to 8 years old once a year.
    Children from 9 to 17 years old every other year.
    The amount refunded is based on the strength of the lenses. Refunds are not made for lenses less then <0.75.
    0.75 - 4.0 = iskr. 3500 per lens.
    4.25 - 6.0 = iskr. 4000 per lens.
    6.25 - 8.0 = iskr. 5500 per lens.
    8.25 to 10.0 = iskr. 6300 per lens.
    10.0 = iskr. 7500 per lens.

  7. If services are not free have any problems of affordability been reported?

    Not applicable.

  8. Are services available for all age groups: children, adults and older people?

    Yes the Center serves all age groups.

Access to Equipment and Technologies

  1. The CRPD states that governments should make sure disabled people know about aids, technology and assistive devices and how to use them. How is this done in your country?

    The Center is responsible for the distribution of assistive devices and the necessary training according to regulation 233/2010.

  2. What training is provided in the use of equipment and technology?

    The Center is responsible for the distribution of assistive devices and the necessary training according to regulation 233/2010.

  3. How is eligibility for equipment, technology and training determined?

    The Center is responsible for the distribution of assistive devices and the necessary training according to regulation 233/2010. Individuals can apply for technical aids on their own but they always have to have their needs evaluated by staff of the Center who can also apply for such aids on behalf of the individual

  4. How are aids, equipment and technology funded (for example, free, paid for by the user, means tested)?

    The Center distribution of assistive devices according to regulation 233/2010 is free of charge for people with health insurance in Iceland. Article 6 of the regulation states that the devices are not given to the individuals but loaned for as long as needed.

  5. If services are not free have any problems of affordability been reported?

    There is no formal gathering of such data available.

  6. Are there any limitations on the choice of equipment? What are these?

    According to the regulation 233/2010 on the Center’s distribution of assistive devices the services and devices are limited to degree of visual impairment of the individual.

Development of the Competence of Professionals

  1. Are there training programmes for rehabilitation professionals? Please describe these (If there is accredited training, the qualifications recognised, where people are trained, to what level etc.)

    There is no such training in Iceland but all training is provided by online courses and seminars. The Center has professionals such as teachers, mobility officers, a social worker and a physiologist that provide services based on individual needs.

  2. Please describe how rehabilitation professionals are trained. Does training emphasise meeting needs on an individual basis?

    Yes, the training emphasises meeting needs on an individual basis.

  3. Does professional training incorporate human rights perspectives?

    There is scheduled to be more extensive training on the human rights perspective at the Center.

  4. Additional comments on professional training

    none

Your Organisation

  1. Does your organisation represent both blind and partially sighted people in your country?

    NO REPLIES FROM ICELAND FOR THIS SECTION