1. What legislative measures are being taken in your country to facilitate the mobility of people with disabilities in general? (Accessibility of roads, transport, buildings) when should they apply?
Under the directorate of traffic and roads (situated under the ministry of transport), rules are given such as:
- The act on traffic
- The act on collective transport
- The act on companies that provide transportation
- Rules on roads (including norms, standards and regulatory indications on designs on pedestrian crossings, traffic beacons, etc)
- Administratively negotiated and published for the municipalities to abide to.
2. Are there specific measures for the visually impaired? If so, describe them briefly.
There are in the rules provided by the body AG10 specific rules on the design of pedestrian crossings (indicating the way to solve the contradiction between wheelchair users and the requirements that benefit the mobility of persons who are visually impaired). Also norms for the construction and patterns, outputs etc of audible pedestrian beacons (frequency etc).
3. How are these measures implemented? Are visually impaired Associations associated with their application? If so, how?
In the administrative body AG 10 representatives from Danish Association of the Blind have membership (in the process of establishing and updating rules). On the local (implementing) municipality level, it is not a mandatory requirement that user organizations are included in the test and selection of solutions and where to put them. In some places local representatives are involved while in others the implementation is undertaken without testing or involvement otherwise. DAB is lobbying to ensure that involvement is done with outset in the centrally based and appointed Committee on technical devices and accessibility to ensure that the same solutions and norms are followed regardless of geographical placement. Then from this point on, local experts may be involved. We too often, however, see that the local technicians / designers hand pick persons with a visual impairment and therefore unacceptable or unfortunate solutions are put in place.
4. Have they already produced tangible results?
A number of tangible results have been obtained related to various tactile lines on walking streets, design of our new metro system, improvement of accessibility on certain train stations, the setting up of pedestrian beacons, development of norms for safety and accessibility on ships, guiding arrangements in airports etc.
5. What are the penalties for non-application of the above measures?
To our knowledge there are no penalties. The legislation and norms are generally implemented and monitored according to principles of good will and available funding in the concrete situation.
B. TRAVEL AID
6. What are the main technical aids used by visually impaired people in your country for mobility: long cane, optical aids, electronic aids, GPS?
Long cane, guide dog, (recently) GPS systems
6.1. How are they distributed?
In some cases granted by the municipality authority (always the case as for the guide dogs). Some citizens buy these devices out of their own pocket.
6.2. Is training provided during their acquisition?
As for guide dogs, always. As for use of long mobility cane and gps: Vary from locality to locality. As for GPS they are usually provided with thorough instructions. People usually exchange experience and hints by word of mouth. There is a trend that especially mobility training is declining and quality decreasing due to lack of professional understanding on the part of local professionals that grant training and do not understand the need of very meticulous training to ensure full control and prevent accidents.
6.3. How are they funded in the acquisition?
Various: some by the municipality, some purchased by the vi person.
6.4. How are guaranteed and financed repairs, maintenance?
The principle usually is that devices granted are also paid for if repair is needed. Privately acquired devices are usually repaired by payment by the VI person.
6.5. Is the white cane recognized as a symbol of visual impairment? If yes, specify the conditions related to its attribution, sanctions in cases of abuse, specific provisions regarding its use.
Yes, it is widely acknowledged and highlighted, although some say that a campaign on its importance would be useful. We do not know of any sanction of enforcement mechanisms. It is just generally known to most people.
7. Is research conducted in your country to develop new assistive devices? If yes, please specify. How are visually impaired people associated with this research?
There are inventors and students who as a part of their project come up with new solutions. They often contact DAB to ask for advice and if applicable test the prototype. No structured and authorized research. We lean on the results from abroad.
C. LOCOMOTION TRAINING
8. How are visually impaired people in your country trained in mobility? (Specify training in the regular school or specialized in functional rehabilitation for people who lose their sight as adults, in the context of structures for the elderly.)
Children are trained by special consultants that visit them at their kindergarten or school. They also are offered training I general use during courses at the resource centre where they receive specific dedicated training during internal courses. As for newly blind persons, some – especially if in job and needing quick and expeditious rehabilitation) are trained during lengthy courses offered by The Institute for the blind. Apart from this, almost all other training is done by consultants that train as local (home) level.
On site instruction is given at local level as per the needs of the persons with a visual impairment, but often not to the degree and length that we find is needed.
9. What is the training undertaken by mobility instructors? Is it recognized by an official certificate? If yes, specify briefly the content of the training. Is there any on-the-job training for mobility instructors?
There is recognition that the instructors are based at special institutions or agencies. There is work going on to ensure that various competencies are formalized in a more structured education that render merit to the trained instructor.
D. AUTONOMY IN DAILY LIFE
10. Help with daily life: how are the visually impaired in your country trained to be autonomous in daily life?
They may be offered training at the local resource centre if newly blind. They may be offered training at the DAB training centre (we have a slot of two years where the training is offered free of charge as municipalities have become more than hesitant to pay for courses for newly blind persons). Also at the Institute for the Blind adl training is offered to a certain extent to persons that are deemed to need more intensive instruction.
11. Is there specific support? If so by which professionals is it provided and in what context? What is the training of these professionals?
The professionals are trained at the Institute for the blind or by peer consultants / instructors. Training is offered free of charge and paid by the municipality.
12. Does your country have training for instructors in autonomy? Is there a certificate recognized by the State?
No not at present, but work is going on to establish such more authorized training of instructors, see above.
E. PUBLIC INFORMATION AND PROFESSIONALS
13. Is the public informed of the mobility needs of visually impaired people? If yes, by whom and how.
Not really. Maybe to a certain extent in schools, otherwise hardly any.
14. Do professionals who interact with visually impaired people have any specific training or awareness training concerning visual impairment?
Yes and they work in a network that was previously very strong and coherent, but due to decentralization a lot of fragmentation has taken place that leads to less peer counselling and maintenance of competencies.