Estonia - Article 7

Note: A glossary is available at the end of this document.

Preliminary issues

1.    In your country, is there, following legislative measures, a national register that systematically receives data and other useful information pertaining to all children and young persons with a visual impairment of 0-18 years of age (or a register operating according to different age criteria)?

X Yes

In the Estonian Social Welfare Act (available at https://www.riigiteataja.ee/en/eli/ee/517012017002/consolide/current) and the Social Benefits to Disabled Persons Act (available at https://www.riigiteataja.ee/en/eli/ee/509012015003/consolide/current) are defined the criteria for assessing the disability and the ways of gathering statistical data. The general statistics is provided by the Estonian Social Insurance Board (by the law),  including the number of 0-17 years old children who are eligible for disability benefits due to visual impairment (VI) or multiple disability with visual impairment (MDVI) estimated by similar criteria as in ICF.

1.1.     If yes, what are the criteria, if any, related to degree of sight loss, age or other conditions related to vision, or any other preconditions for being admitted to the register?

The general criteria are based on WHO and ICF, also the degree of additional help and additional expenditures caused by disability are considered.

1.2.     If there is a register, but not based on legislative measures, what is the basis for the establishment and running of such a register?

N/A

2.    Please give:

2.1.     The number of children and young persons up to and including 18 years of age in your country with a visual disability.

the number of multiple disabled with visual impairment (MDVI) children: 286, and Total number of VI and MDVI children under 18 years who are registered by the Estonian Social Insurance Board was 437 in 2016.

2.2.     The percentage compared with non-disabled children and young persons.

Approximately  0,17% of all children in Estonia.

2.3.     The percentage based on the number of inhabitants in your country.

Approximately 0,03 % of the whole population.

3. Please if possible indicate the specific numbers within the total amount indicated above with additional disabilities.
286 MDVI children out of 437 (all children with VI or MDVI)

Section A. National Disability strategies

1.    Is there in your country according to legislative provisions an adopted national disability strategy?

Yes, but the strategy is quite old, from 1995. The strategy is called The Conception of Disability Policy of Estonian Republic. In Estonian: 

https://valitsus.ee/sites/default/files/content-editors/arengukavad/puuetega_inimeste_vordsete_voimaluste_loomise_standardreeglid.pdf

CRPD was ratified in 2012 in Estonia and it might be considered as a basis for our disability strategy.

If a disability strategy is adopted based on other rules or decisions than legislation, please indicate these.

Our strategy is based on the United Nations General Assembly, forty-eighth session, resolution 48/96, annex, of 20 December 1993

2.    Does your organization participate in preparing national disability strategies?

The Estonian Chamber of Disabled People participated in 1995 and also the Estonian Federation of the Blind as one of its member organisation

3.    Are children and young persons included in such existing national disability strategies?

Yes

Rules 1.8, 1.9, 2.3, 5.6, 6.1-6.8.

3.1.     If no: Is your organization striving to ensure that this is improved?

N/A

4.    Has there been any type of national conference or similar coordinated gathering with the goal of focusing on children and young persons with disabilities / specifically children and young persons with a visual impairment within the last five years?

There have been some national conferences on general issues of young persons with disabilities, including visually impaired.

In 2015, Estonian Chamber of Disabled Persons had its annual conference focused on the opportunities of young persons with disabilities after they have obtained compulsory basic education - their opportunities for vocational training and employment.
In Estonian.  

http://www.epikoda.ee/tegevus/tegevused/epikoja-labiviidud-tegevused-2015/rahvusvahelisele-puuetega-inimeste-paevale-puhendatud-aastakonverents/

In 2016 a national conference focused on general issues of young people was carried through in cooperation with the Center for Political Studies Praxis, the Center of Estonian Youth Work and the Estonian Ministry of Education and Research  

http://www.epikoda.ee/noorteseire-aastakonverentsil-erivajadustega-noored-noorsootoos/


4.1.    
If yes, what was the theme for the conference held?

See the previous answer.

Section B. Support from the local part of society towards families with children with a visual impairment.

European countries are to a large extent heading towards an educational system in which all children and young persons have access to inclusive education taking place in mainstream schools and other inclusive social measures. Hence, it is required that the society must offer support to children and young persons with a visual disability as well as to their families.

1.    Is there in your country legislation or other requirements that ensures collaboration amongst social, health and educational authorities with a purpose to coordinate information and proper measures?

No, but the need for that kind of legislation has been highlighted by several interest groups.

2.    Is there specific legislation in your country that guarantees that families with children or young persons with disabilities / a visual impairment receive support from the national or local authorities?

Yes  There are several acts, just to mention, The Estonian Social Welfare Act

https://www.riigiteataja.ee/en/eli/517012017002/consolide

;
The Child Protection Act : https://www.riigiteataja.ee/en/eli/ee/506052015001/consolide/current

3.    What kind of support is in your country offered on a central and/or local level?

Rehabilitation services, support for getting special devices, allowances for disabled persons, labour market services, free public transportation for disabled children and for some disability groups (for severely visually impaired persons)

On local level additional allowances for transportation (school buses or taxis etc, child care, support persons, special support based on assessment of needs.

https://www.riigiteataja.ee/en/eli/517012017002/consolide

3.1.     Are there national institutions that offer special competence and knowledge or other agencies that offer counselling and support to parents with children and young persons with a disability, including children and young persons with visual disabilities?

Yes.

There are official youth guidance centres (called Pathfinder centres – Rajaleidja keskused) to provide guidance and counselling to children and young people and support their parents and school staff. One of the main areas of their activity is counselling for all kind of special educational needs. Counselling and support is also offered by the rehabilitation system and by local governments.

In everyday life, counselling is also provided by the organisations of people with disabilities and by special schools. For example by the Estonian State School for Children with Visual Impairment – Tartu Emajoe School, and Helen's School in Tallinn.

3.2.     If yes, where does the responsibility lie for running such facilities, taking the initiative making the first contact with the parents, gathering experience and knowledge etc., at national or local level?

The above-mentioned official counselling centres are run by Innove Centre in cooperation with the ministry of education.

The parents are expected to establish the first contact. and also the schools may apply for counselling.

3.3.     Do these facilities also deal with / offer appropriate technical assistive devices?

No. The responsibility over technical assistive devices lies on national level (Social Insurance Board).

3.4.     Who is responsible for updating knowledge and information?

There is no proactivity obligation for state either local authority  - the family is responsible for applying for help (social services, assistive technology, special educational needs).

4.    Are there coordinated private initiatives, where parents with children and young persons with disabilities / visual disabilities may obtain consultation and support (for example, advice, counselling, and assistive devices for pedagogical / educational purposes)?

The assistive devices are offered fully by private companies, partly payed by state. Other advice and counselling is offered by public institutions and NGO-s.

5.    Are there any magazines, newsletters or publications financed by public resources or private funding specifically for:

5.1.     Employees/personnel that work on a daily basis with children and/or young persons with a disability / with a visual  impairment

Yes.

The Estonian Federation of the Blind publishes twice a year a magazine “Valguse Kaja” (“Sound of Light). In Estonian. http://pimedateliit.ee/info/infoleht-valgusekaja/

The Estonian Chamber of Disabled Persons has published several publications, they also publish a magazine “Sinuga” (With You” ).

http://www.epikoda.ee/trykised/

5.2.     Children and young persons with a disability / visual  impairment

No

5.3.     Parents to children and young persons with a disability / visual disability?

No

6.    Are there any leisure activities available specially developed and adapted for children and/or young persons with visual disabilities?

Yes

6.1.     If yes: who is responsible for maintenance and the management?

Local initiatives based on volunteers, projects.

7.    In your country, is there an arrangement either constituted by legal requirements or established on a voluntary basis, through which children and young persons with a disability / visual disability may have the right to:

7.1.     Sighted guides / company?

Yes, however it is quite complicated to get it.

7.2.     Financial support?

Yes. The Benefits for Disabled Persons Act, the Social Welfare Act

7.3.     Transportation to leisure activities?

Yes.

Public transportation is free for all children with disabilities up to 16-years; public transportation is also free for people with profound and severe visual impairment. Local authorities may support special  transportation.

Are there formal or informal opportunities by which children and/or young persons with a visual impairment may meet / spend time together with their peers (children facing the same challenges) and meet mentors / role models?

Yes / No / Not aware

8.    Are there exist formal or informal opportunities by which children and/or young persons with a visual impairment may meet / spend time together with their peers (children facing the same challenges) and meet mentors / role models?

Yes.

Informal – organisations of disabled people

8.1.     If yes: who is responsible for running such meeting opportunities?

Organisations of disabled people (based on periodical project financing) and families.

9.    Are there any formal or informal opportunities for children and young persons with a visual impairment to meet adults with a visual impairment in order to meet role models / mentors?

Yes, Informal opportunities through NGOs.

9.1.     If yes, who is responsible for running such meeting opportunities?

Organisations of disabled people (based on periodical project financing) and families.

10.     Are there any formal or informal arrangements by which parents of children and young persons with a visual impairment may meet other families in similar situations?

Yes. Based on projects run by organisations

10.1.     If yes: who is responsible for running such meeting opportunities?

Organisations of disabled people, families.

Section C. Opportunities for children and young persons with a disability / visual impairment and their organizations to be consulted on issues that involve or concern them.

According to the UNCRPD, children and young persons with a disability are entitled to express their opinion / point of view regarding all issues pertaining to their lives and conditions.

1.    Is there any existing legislation in your country generally, or within the specific social, educational or the health area that ensures that children and young persons with a disability / a visual impairment have the opportunity / right to express their points of view pertaining to their specific situation or to general issues pertaining to disability policies?

Yes, in some extent.

1.1.     If yes, please specify area and scope of such legislation.

The Child Protection Act.

2.    Do the national organizations of blind and partially sighted persons in your country have a functioning subdivision, wing or independent representative organization with specific focus on issues relating to children and young persons?

No, but there is an organisation of parents of VI children.

3.    Is there any formalized network or organization(s) of parents and relatives of children and young persons with a disability / visual impairment?

Yes

3.1.     If yes, when were they set up?

The NGO of Parents of visually impaired children

3.2.     What is their leadership structure (by parents themselves, by institutions)?

By parents themselves

3.3.     How are they funded (through public or private financial resources)?

Mainly by projects applied from different public/private foundations.

3.4.     If yes, is there any regular cooperation between your organization and the existing body representing parents / relatives?

Yes

4.    Are there formal or informal forum/opportunities for children, young persons with a visual impairment or their parents through representative bodies to express concerns or points of view on issues that affect them?

Yes .

By the Estonian Federation of the Blind, by the Estonian Chamber of Disabled People

Glossary

Blind: WHO has established precise criteria for the definition of this term. However, for all practical purposes, we suggest that the term means: Reduced sight to a degree where the person in question has so little residual sight that he/she cannot use vision to read, needs a white cane to undertake mobility and must use a screen reader to access information from the computer.

Children: According to the Convention of the Right of Children this means persons from age 0-18 years, but in this questionnaire the age limits are 0-12 years 

Visually impaired: Includes all persons with a severe  sight loss despite the degree (i.e. blind and partially sighted as defined above).

Local legislation / Authorities: Provisions / authorities that pertain to the specific regions / districts / municipalities.

Mentor: A peer or friend older of age with a visual impairment that may serve as an informal role model (non-professional).

National legislation / authorities: Legislation / authorities that cover the entire country.

Organisations for the blind: organizations / institutions / agencies the mission of which is to provide services or otherwise assist and improve the conditions for persons with a visual impairment.

Organisations of the blind: Representative organizations where the majority of the members and the leadership constitute of persons with a visual impairment.

Partially Sighted: WHO has set out specific criteria for this condition. However, for all practical purposes, we suggest that persons are considered partially sighted, if their vision lies in the area above blindness /see above) and under 1/3 (6/18) of normal sight.

Young persons: In this questionnaire persons of age from 12-18 years of age.