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?
The Iceland Construction Authority is responsible for the administration and preparations of law, regulations and guidelines regarding construction, including accessibility of persons with disabilities. The law states that buildings should meet the standards of universal design.
Regarding transport regulation 475/2008 provides assistance to persons with disabilities travelling by air. Rules regarding mobility by means of public transport vary between municipalities. In most cases the use of buses is free of charge. Some municipalities offer special transportation for persons with disabilities at low cost but require bookings ahead of time and is rather unflexible.
2. Are there specific measures for the visually impaired? If so, describe them briefly.
Yes, in the building regulations there is obligation of i.e tactile and visible markings by means of variations in materials, tactile markings and the use of contrasting colours, marking at the beginning and end of stairs and ramps by attention fields, handrails at ramps and stairs, marking of the front edges of steps, marking of changes of direction, entrance doors and lifts by attention fields.
The Icelandic organization of the visually impaired has made an agreement with an increasing number of municipalities regarding the use of taxis for personal mobility that is more flexible but still at affordable cost.
3. How are these measures implemented? Are visually impaired Associations associated with their application? If so, how?
Yes, they have a representative when new legislation and regulations are being made.
4. Have they already produced tangible results?
To some extent but there still remains a lot of work ahead.
5. What are the penalties for non-application of the above measures?
There are no direct penalties.
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?
The main technical aids used by visually impaired people in Iceland are long cane, optical aids and electronic aids. The use of GPS is gradually increasing.
6.1. How are they distributed?
The National Institute for the Blind, Visually Impaired and Deafblind, usually referred to as „The Center“ is a public institute governed by the Ministry of Welfare.
The Center is responsible for the distribution of assistive devices according to regulation 233/2010. Individuals can apply for technical aids on their own but they always have to have their needs evaluated by staff of the Center who can also apply for such aids on behalf of the individual.
6.2. Is training provided during their acquisition?
The Center provides assistive devices and education in how to use the equipment.
6.3. How are they funded in the acquisition?
It varies, some assistive devices are funded by the individuals themselves, others are covered by the health insurance and are free of charge.
6.4. How are guaranteed and financed repairs, maintenance?
In most cases the Center owns the devices and lends them to individuals the Center finances repairs and maintenance on those devices.
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.
The white cane is recognized as a symbol of visual impairment condition related to its attribution is proof of visual impairment that is classified as blindness by the standards of WHO. There are no sanctions of enforcement mechanisms.
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?
Yes, research and developments are done through various projects and some are led by the Icelandic organization of the visually impaired.
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.)
The Center provides mobility training based on the individual needs whether in schools, in work places, at home or other places
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?
The trainers of the Center are certified Orientation and Mobility trainers, but their training is undertaken abroad so there is no official certificate in Iceland.
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?
The Center provides for training in mobility and independent living.
Because of the high age of their client group and most of them live in their own homes the service required is centered around independent living.
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 Center has professionals such as teachers, mobility officers, a social worker and a physiologist that provide services based on individual needs, free of charge, in the environment the client requests. Services are therefore based on the ability and the needs of the client and not age.
12. Does your country have training for instructors in autonomy? Is there a certificate recognized by the State?
No, there is no formal training for instructors in autonomy in Iceland.
E. PUBLIC INFORMATION AND PROFESSIONALS
13. Is the public informed of the mobility needs of visually impaired people? If yes, by whom and how.
Yes, increasingly by various projects by the Icelandic Organization of the Visually Impaired and the Center.
14. Do professionals who interact with visually impaired people have any specific training or awareness training concerning visual impairment?
Not a specific training, but the Center provides assistance and counselling to schools at all levels and to others that request such counselling.