Slovenia - 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)?

Yes. It must be emphasised that in Slovenia national register of blind and partially sighted is not yet in place. However, according to Placement of Children with Special Needs Act, there is a register of children and students (preschool education, primary and secondary education) who are given status “children with special needs”.
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?

Sight loss: equal to or less than 30 %.

Age: Between 0 and 18 years old (with additional severe disabilities up to 26).
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?
The Union of the Blind and Partially Sighted of Slovenia has a register of its members. Criteria for membership is legal definition of visual impairment in Slovenia (sight loss (5 categories): less than 30 %; 10 %; 5 %; 2 %; amaurosis).

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.

Currently, in Slovenia there are 210 registered children and teenagers with visual disability, aged up to and including 18.

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

Official data reveals (Statistical Office of the Republic of Slovenia) that there are 360.672 inhabitants aged up to 18. Percentage of children or young people with sight loss in age group 0-18 is 0,06 %.

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

Official data reveals (Statistical Office of the Republic of Slovenia) that there are 2.064.188 inhabitants in Slovenia. Percentage of children or young people with sight loss in population is 0,01 %.

3. Please if possible indicate the specific numbers within the total amount indicated above with additional disabilities.
58 children out of 210 have additional disabilities.

Section A. National Disability strategies

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

Yes, Action Programme for Persons with Disabilities 2014-2021.

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

N/A

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

Indirectly yes. As a member of another national organisation that is National Council of Organisations of People with Disabilities of Slovenia.

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?

No specific national conference has been organised with the aim to address issues with focus on children and young persons with sight loss only. However, some events (e.g. seminars, workshops) have been conducted by NGO's and Ministry of Education, Science and Sport. on inclusion of children with different disabilities (including with visual impairments) in the educational system.

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

Mostly, main theme is evaluation of current situation (advantages, disadvantages) and implementation of legislation.

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, although we would welcome such legislation or other measures that would enable collaboration and coordination among different fields and institutions. We believe this is high priority as many parents lack support and guidance when arranging benefits and other procedures.

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, the Social Security Act

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

On a central and local level counselling and support are provided in order to prevent social exclusion.

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, the Union of the Blind and Partially Sighted of Slovenia and Institute of Blind and Partially Sighted Ljubljana offer counselling and support to parents with children and young persons with visual impairments.

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?

At the national level.

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 Union of the Blind and Partially Sighted of Slovenia and Institute of Blind and Partially Sighted Ljubljana are responsible for updating knowledge and information.

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)?

Not that we are aware of.

5.    Are there any magazines, newsletters or publications financed by public resources or private funding specifically for:
The Union of the Blind and Partially Sighted of Slovenia and Institute of Blind and Partially Sighted Ljubljana publish different leaflets to raise awareness about VI and to promote services for blind and partially sighted. Information is also announced on websites of both organisations.

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

n/a

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

n/a

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

n/a

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?

The Union of the Blind and Partially Sighted of Slovenia and Institute of Blind and Partially Sighted Ljubljana.

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?

Yes

7.3.     Transportation to leisure activities?

No

8. 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, there are formal and informal opportunities for gatherings: the Institute of Blind and Partially Sighted Ljubljana offers their children and young people in their programmes and those in inclusion (in mainstream schools) to gather and socialise through several different activities such as formal camps and sport activities. Crucial for youngsters are also informal programmes conducted by the Union of the Blind and Partially Sighted of Slovenia, where several thematic camps and workshops through whole year round are organised for different age groups.

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

Union of the Blind and Partially Sighted of Slovenia and Institute of Blind and Partially Sighted Ljubljana are responsible.

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 are provided by the Union of the Blind and Partially Sighted of Slovenia and its 9 regional associations in the country. Youngsters and adult participate and exchanged their experience in particular (sport, culture, leisure etc.) programmes which are designed for blind and partially sighted members.

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

the Union of the Blind and Partially Sighted of Slovenia

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?

As answers 8, 9.

A self helping group has been organised at the national level and is financed by Union of Blind and Partially Sighted of Slovenia.

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?

n/a

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

n/al

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, the Union of the Blind and Partially Sighted of Slovenia has designed a special programme for children, youth and their families, which provides counselling and support. As part of the programme several workshops, camps, lobbing and other activities are organised and provided.

See also answer on question 10 in Section B.

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

No, but a Network of parents and relatives of children and young persons with visual impairment are organised within the programme, as subgroup within the UPBSS.

See also answer 10 in Section B.

The group was set up 16 years ago and has a Network of parents has their representative.

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?

No

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.