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?
Some legislative measures have already been taken – for example public buildings have to include certain criteria for the general disabled – slopes where stairs are, handrails brightly coloured by steps, marking on the ground, marking on glass doors, etc. New city buses contain a ramp for wheelchairs instead of stairs.
2. Are there specific measures for the visually impaired? If so, describe them briefly.
Urban buses announce the location of the upcoming bus stop, as well as trains.
3. How are these measures implemented? Are visually impaired Associations associated with their application? If so, how?
A group within the Ministry of Justice is responsible for improving conditions for the handicapped, including the visually handicapped and all people with physical disabilities.
4. Have they already produced tangible results?
Yes – some tangible results have been achieved and some improvements made.
5. What are the penalties for non-application of the above measures?
There are penalties but the blind and organizations of and for the blind do not receive any monetary compensation – but compensation in ‘kind'. If we are talking about a transport company being penalized, blind organizations, may, for example, receive the use of transportation for trips and outings at no cost.
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 aid is still the long cane with a few optical aids, in addition.
6.1. How are they distributed?
Canes are on sale at the auxiliary aids store of THE CENTER FOR THE BLIND IN ISRAEL at subsidized prices.
6.2. Is training provided during their acquisition?
Yes, full training is provided.
6.3. How are they funded in the acquisition?
Canes are subsidized at 90 percent of the retail price and the blind are allowed to make use of this subsidy twice a year.
6.4. How are guaranteed and financed repairs, maintenance?
Goods in the store of THE CENTER FOR THE BLIND IN ISRAEL are under warranty for one year from the date of purchase.
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 – the white cane is fully recognized as a sign of visual impairment and respected as such.
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 – there are various research programs at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem being undertaken by a group, including VI people, dedicated to this task, as well as in the Haifa Institute of Technology.
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.)
One on One training takes place in schools by instructors qualified to do this work. Adults and the elderly who go blind are taught in their home environment by qualified rehabilitation teachers, and those who are employed are taught how to reach their place of employment safely.
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?
Training instructors go through an extensive course given by Inspectors and are classified as qualified at the end of the training course. There is no official certificate on completion of the course, although the teachers are under strict supervision at the beginning of their work.
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?
Instructors of The Lighthouse Rehabilitation programs enter the homes of the newly blind to give instruction and support – e.g. teaching women to use their kitchens and move around their homes and local shops, etc.
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 FOR THE BLIND IN ISRAEL provides computer training courses, plus other services – see www.ibcu.org.il where there is a section in English showing the services provided to the visually handicapped and their families.
12. Does your country have training for instructors in autonomy? Is there a certificate recognized by the State?
E. PUBLIC INFORMATION AND PROFESSIONALS
13. Is the public informed of the mobility needs of visually impaired people? If yes, by whom and how.
Publicity is given on the needs of the visually handicapped on an ongoing basis. On June 6 (6/6) Blind Day was held throughout Israel with various activities with the purpose of identifying with the visually handicapped.
14. Do professionals who interact with visually impaired people have any specific training or awareness training concerning visual impairment?
They are taught how to act with, and react to, the visually handicapped in varying situations.