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 principles behind the Spanish disability strategy are based on:

  • LAW 51/2003 of the 2nd of December on Equal Opportunities, Non-Discrimination and Universal Accessibility of People with Disabilities, known as "LIONDAU". This law fulfils the existing legal loophole regarding the existence of a similar wide and general framework to that provided in other countries.
  • ROYAL DECREE 366/2007, of the 16th of March, through which the requirements for the accessibility and non-discrimination of people with disabilities in their relationship with the State's General Administration are established.
  • ROYAL DECREE 505/2007, of the 20th of April, in which the basic requirements for the accessibility and non-discrimination of people with disabilities when using and accessing urbanised public spaces and buildings are approved.
  • ROYAL DECREE 1494/2007, of the 12th of November, through which the Regulation sets out the basic requirements for the access of people with disabilities to TIC and to products and services associated with the Information Society and social Media.
    In the case of new products and services, this will be implemented in the next 4 to 6 years, while in the case of existing products and services that may be subject to reasonable changes, the timeframe will be between 8 and 10 years
  • ROYAL DECREE 1544/2007, of the 23rd of November, which establishes the basic requirements for the accessibility and the non-discrimination of people with disabilities when accessing transport.
    This came into force on the 5th of December 2007, although different timeframes are specified for each case(railway transport, sea transport, air transport, road transport, urban and suburban transport by bus, city trains, adapted taxies, special transport services).
  • LAW 49/2007, of the 26th of December, which establishes the infringement and sanction systems.
  • LAW 26/2011, of the 1st of August, on the regulatory adjustment to the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities.

All these pieces of legislation come into force when published in the Official State Bulletin.


2.    Are there specific measures for the visually impaired? If so, describe them briefly.

Yes. Work is being carried out on the issue of accessibility at all levels, as well as on health, education, transport, employment, communication, housing and recreation spaces. The universal design principle is also taken into account when developing new environments and goods.

With the support of the Autonomous Communities and the different disability organizations, the development of a program of specific measures for people with disabilities in rural environments under the plan of action introduced in the Spanish Disability Strategy is foreseen.


3.    How are these measures implemented? Are visually impaired Associations associated with their application? If so, how?

YES. Through participation and through having representation in spaces and movements which advocate for their rights and equality, thus giving way to the construction of a new disability model that advocates for a more tolerant, just, inclusive and respectful society.


4.    Have they already produced tangible results?

There is a compromise to apply universal design principles in order to respond to the specific needs derived from functional diversity. There have been developments and improvements in public transport; in building construction and in the access to technology but this is not enough.


5.    What are the penalties for non-application of the above measures?

The sanction is a fine that will increase 100% in case of reoffending. In some cases, the premises can even be closed down for infringement. When regulations and rights are not complied with, the claims are very few, despite the many existing reasons  for such procedures.



6.    What are the main technical aids used by visually impaired people in your country for mobility: long cane, optical aids, electronic aids, GPS?

Mobility White cane, optical aids, electronic devices and access to information equipment, GPS.

6.1.     How are they distributed?

After analysing each individual case, special attention is paid to the problems being faced by users, focusing their claims on obtaining the required aids.

6.2.     Is training provided during their acquisition?


6.3.     How are they funded in the acquisition?

If the user cannot afford the cost of an aid, the user's situation and needs are analysed to identify suitable support. Also, the public administration grants some aids to help with their purchasing.

6.4.     How are guaranteed and financed repairs, maintenance?

They are managed by users or through a specialized centre.

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.



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?


 ONCE's Centre for Research, Development and Tiflotechnological Application constitutes a leading centre regarding support products and technologies for blind and partially sighted people. It coordinates research, development, Consulting and design and production activities, which are carried out within the field of tiflotechnology and where people with visual problems have an active role within the different projects. (Tiflotechnology is the name used to describe the adjustments required of the new technologies to make them accessible to visually impaired people)



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.)

In Spain, the mobility and orientation programs are executed in different ways through ONCE:

  • Children: Personal autonomy is considered a specific intervention area within the school curriculum. This begins as soon as possible and is applied in a continuous manner throughout several academic years. Objectives are modified according to the needs and the specific educational stages and they are supervised by the mobility instructor (known as “Rehabilitation Technician” in ONCE). However, in some phases of the program, this is carried out by the teacher or other educational professionals.
  • Adults: The rehabilitation program is carried out in a specialised manner and it is applied by the rehabilitation technician. It is individualised taking into account the client's emotional, physical and medical condition, as well as his or her capabilities and needs. The majority of the learning processes in the program are carried out outdoors both within the user's own environment and within unknown spaces. It is also implemented while going on public transport. 


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?

Within ONCE, the training in orientation and mobility is given by its rehabilitation technicians. They also assume other autonomy areas. Training is given by ONCE itself and it is not recognized through an official certificate. Rehabilitation activities are regularly carried out for these professionals.



10.       Help with daily life: how are the visually impaired in your country trained to be autonomous in daily life?

The answer here coincides with that given in Question 8, as the philosophy of intervention is the same. In the case of adults, the Autonomy in Daily Life program can be carried out in ONCE's rehabilitation services or in the user's actual home.


11.       Is there specific support? If so by which professionals is it provided and in what context? What is the training of these professionals?

Yes. Specific support is provided by staff, families and volunteers, who go to their homes and help them to manage their tasks, accompanying them and helping them with other activities related to food preparation, personal hygiene, etc. The training received focuses on specific issues linked to visual disabilities: interaction, accompanying and so on. These services are also provided by local social services.


12.       Does your country have training for instructors in autonomy? Is there a certificate recognized by the State?

The answer here coincides also with that given to Question 9.



13.       Is the public informed of the mobility needs of visually impaired people? If yes, by whom and how.

Yes. In recent years, people have more information regarding visual disabilities. This information is more accurate and realistic thanks to the awareness campaigns and informative activities sponsored by ONCE. Nevertheless, this issue requires an ongoing update and renewal, so we must continue organizing activities that keep the general public informed.


14.       Do professionals who interact with visually impaired people have any specific training or awareness training concerning visual impairment?

Yes. Normally, training is provided for professionals in schools, care centres for the elderly, hospitals, transport companies, the hotel sector and other service sectors.

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