The Netherlands - 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)?

No

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?

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.

There is no system available that gives us the exact number of children with a visual disability up to 18 years in the Netherlands. According to the information we obtained from the schools for visually impaired children, the number of children with a visual disability in 2015 in the Netherlands was between 2000 and 3000. In 2010 24% of the total inhabitants of the Netherlands (then 16.500.00) was younger than 20 years.

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

N/A

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

N/A

3. Please if possible indicate the specific numbers within the total amount indicated above with additional disabilities.
N/A

Section A. National Disability strategies

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

No

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

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

Yes. There is a website to inform people on the implementation of the UN CRPD:

http://vnverdragwaarmaken.nl/

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

Yes

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?

Not aware

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

N/A

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?

Yes, this is our organisation called Oogvereniging.

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?

No

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

There are two specialised organisations in the Netherlands (Bartiméus and Visio) that support children with visual impairment and their parents.

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, Visio and Bartiméus

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?

We think the eye doctors have the responsibility for the first contact.

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

Yes

3.4.     Who is responsible for updating knowledge and information?

The organisations themselves are responsible.

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)?

Yes, there are different facebookgroups and different groups for children and their parents to meet each other.

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 visio.org, bartimeus.nl and oogvereniging.nl.

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

There are different facebook groups

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

There are different facebook groups

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?

Oogvereniging is responsible for the sport camps for children with visual impairment. Children who play goalball or showdown play this sports in regional self-supporting organisations.

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?

No

7.2.     Financial support?

No

7.3.     Transportation to leisure activities?

Yes, there are voluntary initiatives (such as the Lions club) that transport visually impaired children and adults to leisure activities.

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

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

Visio and Bartimeus

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

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

VU University Amsterdam has a longterm study called mentor support.

https://www.mentorsupport.nl/

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, facebook and meetings

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

Visio, Bartiméus and Oogvereniging.

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, but only on social media (facebook, twitter).

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

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?

Yes

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

Yes. Oogvereniging had a parent group with a project-cördinator.

3.1.     If yes, when were they set up?

?

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

By parents themselves and supported by the project coordinator of the Oogvereniging

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

Both

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

No

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, on facebook

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.