Norway - Article 26

(updated 08/01/2018)

Law and Policy

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

    There are several acts and regulations ensuring the right to habilitation and rehabilitation. One of these covers all the areas below, the act relating to social security. Link to this law (Norwegian language):

    and give links to further information for:

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

    Blind and partially sighted people (reduced sight with at least 2/3) are entitled to assistive technology, aids and equipment paid for by the government. This is the same law that gives right to habilitation and rehabilitation in general: The act relating to social security (Norwegian language)

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

    Blind and partially sighted people have the right to personal assistance in all aspects of community life, although there are limited numbers of hours in some areas. Laws and regulations are the same as above, the act relating to social security and the act relating to municipal Health and care services, etc. [Health and Care Services Act]. In addition Norway has a general law on discrimination and accessibility (Norwegian language) stating that the public part of a company, both private and public companies, have to be universally designed.

  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
    • b. For adults 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

      The policies are mostly incorporated in the laws and regulations. The regulations are divided in to several different layers and describes how the laws are to be interpreted. See the links above.

  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

    Yes. The act relating to municipal health and care services, etc. (Health and Care Services Act) Chapter 1. Purpose and scope Section 1-1.
    Objectives of the Act states: The objectives of the Act are in particular to:
    - prevent, treat and facilitate to cope with disease, injury, suffering and disabilities.
    - promote social security, better living conditions for the disadvantaged, contribute to equal worth and gender equality and prevent social problems.
    - ensure that each individual has the opportunity to live and dwell independently and to have an active, meaningful existence in fellowship with others.
    - ensure the quality and equality of the services offered,
    - Ensure coordination and that the services offered are available to patients and health care users and ensure that the services offered are adapted to the individual's needs.
    - ensure that the services offered are organised with respect to the individual's integrity and dignity, and
    - contribute to the best possible use of resources.

  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

      Yes. As a result of that, both the Norwegian association of the blind and partially sighted and the Norwegian association of the hard of hearing are granted money through the state budget to have and develop peer support.

  7. Are there resources for peer support services?

    See above

  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?

    The government develops these standards and policies. The organisations are included in the process, but not always as an equal partner. There are systems at both regional and national level to secure participation and representation in processes affecting the life of blind and partially sighted. These systems aren’t always as good as they should be.

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:

    Yes

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

    Services provided by the government:
    - Statped – this is a national service for special needs education made up for four regions and a main office located in Oslo.
    - System for lending out assistive devices.
    - NAV (Norwegian Labour and Welfare administration).
    - Adult education. - Focal persons for visually impaired.
    NABP provides the following services:
    - Rehabilitation trainings at our rehabilitation centres.
    - Home visits (for rehabilitations).
    - Advocacy for improved services for the blind and partially sighted.

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

    This is done by either the municipality or NABP.

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

    - NABP, including at our rehabilitation centres.
    - Eye departments at hospitals.
    - Local and regional government.

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

    Yes, services should be equal throughout the country. However, due to lack of competence and financial resources, there are disparities between the municipalities.

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

    Free of charge.

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

    n/a

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

    Yes

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?

    - Webpages
    - NAV (Norwegian Labour and Welfare administration)
    - Ophtalmologists and opticians - NABP

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

    This is the responsibility of the government. Some municipalities do a good job. However, many municipalities has lack of competence and financial resources. NABP provides rehabilitation and habitation training.

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

    A tender system has been introduced, which has resulted in less options. Today, the visually impaired usually has the option between 2-3 assistive devices. Public officers (Hjelpemiddel-sentralen) should provide training. However, many lack relevant competence.

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

    The government has support grants.

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

    Those not granted funds by the government, can apply for support from NABP. NABP received many applications in this regards.

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

    Assistive devices must be necessary and appropriate. They must fulfill the requirements of the WHO; that is with a vision acuity of less than 0,33.

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.)

    NABP has programs where the visually impaired are assisted by other visually impaired people.

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

    University/college; Bachelor degree. Yes, done on an individual basis.

  3. Does professional training incorporate human rights perspectives?

    n/a

  4. Additional comments on professional training

    n/a

Your Organisation

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

    Yes

  2. What are the conditions for someone with visual impairment to become a member of your organisation or use its services? Please be as specific as possible both for blind and partially sighted people.

    - Live in Norway
    - Be 14 years or above
    - Must be partially sighted or blind
    - Parents of visually impaired children

  3. Is this strictly applied, or is there more flexibility in practice?

    n/a

  4. Is there another organisation that a person with visual impairment can turn to if they cannot affiliate to your organisation or if you cannot meet their needs? Please give as many details as possible.

    Rarely

  5. How is your organisation involved in the implementation of the right to habilitation and rehabilitation support services and programmes for both blind people and people with partial sight? Please give as much detail as possible, especially regarding:
    • a. policies and standards
    • b. monitoring of implementation
    • c. actions to ensure that dedicated services are in place that meet the distinct needs of blind and partially sighted people.
    • d. actual provision of services to blind and partially sighted people and the rights that people with visual impairment have to services.

      The Norwegian association of the blind and partially sighted is the main provider of rehabilitation services for adults in Norway. We run 3 rehabilitation centres and have a large group of peers supporting in different areas as daily life, labour and parenting. We have regular meetings with the authorities that govern the social security area. When new laws and regulations are proposed, we are involved either from the beginning or thru the consultation process. We have laws stating that those affected by the law are to be consulted prior to decisions are made. Despite these policies and regulations there is still some way to go before those who are in need of rehabilitation and those affected by decisions made by the authorities, are sufficiently included in the process.

  6. Is there an officer or expert appointed in your organisation to work on partial sight matters? Please describe.

    Yes, many

  7. What actions is your organisation taking to implement the right to rehabilitation services with dedicated, distinct services for blind people and people who have low vision, and to ensure that these services are/will be available in practice? Please give details (examples: lobbying, cooperation with rehabilitation centres, setting up support services, cooperation with universities to develop specific training for rehabilitation experts etc.)

    Our organisation are doing all of the above.
    - We are lobbying, we have regular meetings with the national authorities in the rehabilitation area
    - We own and run 3 rehabilitation centres
    - We have our own support services
    - We are a part of the curriculum at the medical studies in Norway
    - We help hospitals and medical offices throughout Norway provide information on rehabilitation to those who have sight problems.

  8. How does your organisation inform people with visual impairments and the general public about living with blindness and partial sight? (Examples: a website, a national helpline, information stands in hospitals, campaigns, etc.)

    NABP has:
    - An information department with six employees.
    - Website
    - A desk to serve members
    - Focal persons (for home visits) NABP also sends information to different health institutions.

  9. How does your organisation inform others about the available habilitation and rehabilitation and support services for blind and partially sighted people?

    see previous answer

  10. In what way is your organisation working with specialised ophthalmologists, optometrists, rehabilitation centres, and teachers, residential homes for older people etc. to prevent, inform and support people with visual impairment?

    - Target relevant offices
    - Stands
    - Lectures/seminars
    - Education

  11. Is your organisation involved in the Vision 2020 initiative in your country?

    Yes

  12. Are you familiar with the EBU standards for low vision services in Europe toolkit for implementing the right of partially sighted people to the services they need? How helpful is this resource document?

    n/a

  13. What, if any, type of support would you like to have to implement UNCRPD article 26 for blind and partially sighted people? Be as specific as possible.

    The most important and effective way to implement UNCRPD are if all organisations of disabled in Norway use the convention in their work and communication with the authorities and in their general communication. In doing this we will heighten the knowledge and make sure there is a constant focus on the UNCRPD. Norway hasn’t ratified the optional protocol to UNCRPD. If we could get help, convincing the government to do this, it would be a great help in implementing the convention.

  14. If you compare the current situation with five years ago, regarding the implementation of the right to rehabilitation services for blind people and for people with partial sight, would you say that in your country:
    • a. nothing has changed (explain )
    • b. The situation has worsened (explain why and how)
    • c. The situation has improved (explain why and how)

      n/a

  15. Is further action needed in your country? If yes, please explain what needs to be done.

    - Improved referral systems
    - Include data on visually impaired persons in the governments systematic registry on medical quality
    - Ensure adequate competence on vision in all municipalities

  16. Please send any articles, material, training, standards, protocols, or links that you feel could perhaps serve your colleagues in other EBU countries aiming at high standards services for everyone with sight loss.

    see above answers