Law and Policy
- Is there a legal right to habilitation and rehabilitation services in your country? Please describe relevant laws and give links to further information for:
- a. Health
- b. Education
- c. Employment
- d. Social Services
For all categories above Slovenia (under Ministry of Health http://www.mz.gov.si/en/) enacted comprehensive rehabilitation of Blind and Partially Sighted (WHO definition) in 2008 Health Care and Health Insurance Act, article 23: http://www.pisrs.si/Pis.web/pregledPredpisa?id=ZAKO213).
- Is there a legal right to assistive technology, aids and equipment? (i) Blind persons (ii) Partially sighted persons
Under Equalization of Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities Act (http://www.pisrs.si/Pis.web/pregledPredpisa?id=ZAKO4342) people with visually impairments are entitled to certain aids which they need to overcome different types of barriers in their life. According to their classification of visual impairment, government provides co-financing of some technical aids. Blind and partially sighted persons are also entitled to limited medical aids from Health insurance.
- Do laws on rehabilitation recognise and support participation in all aspects of community life?
Although the law is placed, services are still not implemented in full extend. Apart from Eye Clinic Ljubljana – National Centre of Comprehensive Rehabilitation of Blind and Partially Sighted, which is providing low vision services, Union of the Blind and Partially Sighted of Slovenia (UBPSS) together with nine regional associations is one of the few organizations in the country, which to some extent, provides certain services and programs for people who need comprehensive rehabilitation. The other organisations that provide rehabilitation are The University Rehabilitation Institute Soča (vocational rehabilitation) and Center IRIS (Early Intervention).
- Are there policies on habilitation and rehabilitation services for people who are blind or partially sighted?
- a. For children who are (i) Blind persons (ii) Partially sighted persons
- b. For adults of working age who are (i) Blind persons (ii) Partially sighted persons
- c. For older people who are (i) Blind persons (ii) Partially sighted persons
See answer 1.
- Do policies recognise the importance of a personalised multidisciplinary assessment of each individual´s needs and circumstances? Please describe the policies and give web links to more information, for people who are: a. Blind persons b. Partially sighted persons
Considering the law, everybody should receive comprehensive rehabilitation according to their needs.
- Are there policies on developing peer support for habilitation and rehabilitation?
- a. For children (please also include policies on family support) who are (i) Blind (ii) Partially sighted
- b. For people of working age who are (i) Blind persons (ii) Partially sighted persons
- c. For older people who are (i) Blind persons (ii) Partially sighted persons
After the law is placed, a program for comprehensive rehabilitation was prepared, which includes also peer support. But the whole program hasn’t been implemented yet.
- Are there resources for peer support services?
Peer support is to some extent available at regional associations of Blind and Partially Sighted people.
- Do blind and visually impaired people and their organisations fully participate as equal partners in the development of policies and standards for habilitation and rehabilitation services?
Union of the Blind and Partially Sighted of Slovenia proposed article that placed rehabilitation in the law and was also involved in the preparation of the program.
Access to Habilitation and Rehabilitation
- Are there dedicated services for both partially sighted and blind people that meet their distinct needs? Are these habilitation and rehabilitation services focussed on supporting independent living in the community living for people who are:
As already explained, we believe that we are in the beginning stages of the implementation of this right in Slovenia. Therefore, not all services have been implemented yet.
- What is the full range of services in your country
According to the needs of users UPBSS together with regional associations provide programmes that includes activities in the field of accessible information, newspapers, library service and adapting books in accessible formats, as well as providing technical aids, network of guides, activities for improving health and quality of life, activities and camps for children, youth, their siblings and parents, blind and partially sighted parents, women, elderly, relatives, as well as sports, chess, cultural and other activities.
- How is eligibility determined to access habilitation and rehabilitation services for
There are no eligibility criteria applied for rehabilitation services for blind and partially sighted people.
- Who provides habilitation and rehabilitation services (for example, dedicated blindness and low vision rehabilitation and support centres, hospitals (private and public), NGOs)?
Apart from Eye Clinic Ljubljana - National Centre of Comprehensive Rehabilitation of Blind and Partially Sighted, which is providing low vision services, Union of the Blind and Partially Sighted of Slovenia (UBPSS) together with nine regional associations is one of the few organizations in the country, which to some extent, provides certain services and programs for people who need comprehensive rehabilitation. The other organisations that provide rehabilitation are The University Rehabilitation Institute Soča (vocational rehabilitation) and Center IRIS (Early Intervention).
- Are services available locally in all parts of the country?
Services provided by Eye Clinic are centralised, available only in the capital city of Ljubljana. However, next step is to provide services at the local level as well. UBPSS and all 9 regional association provide services at the national and local level.
- How are services funded (for example, free, paid for by the user, means tested)?
All rehabilitation services are free of charge.
- If services are not free have any problems of affordability been reported?
Rehabilitation services are free of charge but there is a waiting period for first appointment to enter the rehabilitation.
- Are services available for all age groups: children, adults and older people?
Access to Equipment and Technologies
- The CRPD states that governments should make sure disabled people know about aids, technology and assistive devices and how to use them. How is this done in your country?
Union of the Blind and Partially Sighted of Slovenia together with regional associations are the only organisations that provide training on different technical aids (according to the needs of users and funding available). We inform users regularly and we try to raise awareness about trainings in order to reach other potential users.
- What training is provided in the use of equipment and technology?
We provide ICT training and other assistance according to the need of users.
- How is eligibility for equipment, technology and training determined?
- How are aids, equipment and technology funded (for example, free, paid for by the user, means tested)?
Under Equalization of Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities Act (http://www.pisrs.si/Pis.web/pregledPredpisa?id=ZAKO4342) people with visually impairments are entitled to certain aids which they need to overcome different types of barriers in their life. According to their classification of visual impairment, government determines price range of technical aids and provides 85% of supplement of technical aid from the list. There are many technical aids on this list, but some important are missed out. For instance, people with low vision are entitled only to handheld digital magnifier in amount of 450,00 €, but current government supplement is 85% of this amount. Other digital magnifiers are not on this or any other list and therefore due to high cost not affordable for many people with low vision.
Blind and partially sighted persons are also entitled to limited medical aids from Health insurance. On this list are braille type writer, braille display, handheld magnifiers (not digital, those with only one magnification), binoculars, telescopic glasses etc. Although, the equipment is provided, the problem remains because for instance you must choose between braille type writer or braille display. Those who are Blind are entitled to only one of these two aids and only once in their lifetime.
- If services are not free have any problems of affordability been reported?
People with visual impairment can receive only aids and equipment which are on the list approved by government or National Health Insurance Institute. As explained above, not all necessary and important technical aids are available. Thus, the problem of affordability has been reported many times and is in our opinion significantly important barrier in the lives of people with visually impairment in Slovenia.
- Are there any limitations on the choice of equipment? What are these?
Development of the Competence of Professionals
- Are there training programmes for rehabilitation professionals? Please describe these (If there is accredited training, the qualifications recognised, where people are trained, to what level etc.)
At the University of Ljubljana – Faculty of Education there is a program “Visually Impaired Education and the Pedagogy of Specific Learning Difficulties”. Visit http://www.pef.uni-lj.si/382.html for more information.
- Please describe how rehabilitation professionals are trained. Does training emphasise meeting needs on an individual basis?
- Does professional training incorporate human rights perspectives?
- Additional comments on professional training
- Does your organisation represent both blind and partially sighted people in your country?
- What are the conditions for someone with visual impairment to become a member of your organisation or use its services? Please be as specific as possible both for blind and partially sighted people.
Everybody who is Blind or Partially Sighted according to the official national classification can register as member or become end-user of services.
- Is this strictly applied, or is there more flexibility in practice?
In general, this is applied but in practice when it’s necessary we provide services to everybody who has sight loss and who needs our services.
- Is there another organisation that a person with visual impairment can turn to if they cannot affiliate to your organisation or if you cannot meet their needs? Please give as many details as possible.
- How is your organisation involved in the implementation of the right to habilitation and rehabilitation support services and programmes for both blind people and people with partial sight? Please give as much detail as possible, especially regarding:
- a. policies and standards
- b. monitoring of implementation
- c. actions to ensure that dedicated services are in place that meet the distinct needs of blind and partially sighted people.
- d. actual provision of services to blind and partially sighted people and the rights that people with visual impairment have to services.
UBPSS were fundamental part in negotiations and lobbying for Article 23 (Health Care and Health Insurance Act) which enact comprehensive rehabilitation for blind and partially sighted. Before article was adopted UBPSS and Eye Clinic Ljubljana prepared national strategy and programme for comprehensive rehabilitation of blind and partially sighted. Moreover, UBPSS was partner with Eye Clinic Ljubljana in pilot programme of comprehensive rehabilitation. In order to provide, improve and promote rehabilitation service national wide UBPSS in undertaking several awareness raising actions and lobbying.
- Is there an officer or expert appointed in your organisation to work on partial sight matters? Please describe.
We have no assigned person to work only on partial sight matters. All staff members must have knowledge and expertise on visual impairment.
- What actions is your organisation taking to implement the right to rehabilitation services with dedicated, distinct services for blind people and people who have low vision, and to ensure that these services are/will be available in practice? Please give details (examples: lobbying, cooperation with rehabilitation centres, setting up support services, cooperation with universities to develop specific training for rehabilitation experts etc.)
To pursue implementation of rehabilitation services, UBPSS is striving to lobby and cooperate with important stakeholders and decision makers. We have established good cooperation with Eye Clinic Ljubljana, Ministry of Health, Center IRIS and The University Rehabilitation Institute Soča. With our services we are supplementing the lack of some rehabilitation services. Hopefully near in the future we will develop specific training for rehabilitation experts.
- How does your organisation inform people with visual impairments and the general public about living with blindness and partial sight? (Examples: a website, a national helpline, information stands in hospitals, campaigns, etc.)
We inform people with visual impairments and experts via e-mail, on our website, on radio station and media presence where we promote services available to blind and partially sighted people. We also conduct awareness-raising workshops and attend various events providing information on different sight loss conditions and what support is available.
- How does your organisation inform others about the available habilitation and rehabilitation and support services for blind and partially sighted people?
- In what way is your organisation working with specialised ophthalmologists, optometrists, rehabilitation centres, and teachers, residential homes for older people etc. to prevent, inform and support people with visual impairment?
- Is your organisation involved in the Vision 2020 initiative in your country?
We are aware of Vision 2020 initiative, but currently we are not actively involved.
- Are you familiar with the EBU standards for low vision services in Europe toolkit for implementing the right of partially sighted people to the services they need? How helpful is this resource document?
Yes. Good source of information for awareness-raising activities and lobbying. Also, this document is good source of essential needs and basic information of people with low vision for future projects and activities.
- What, if any, type of support would you like to have to implement UNCRPD article 26 for blind and partially sighted people? Be as specific as possible.
We would appreciate further support of EBU and WBU on lobbying and campaigning to improve comprehensive rehabilitation service for Blind and Partially Sighted people in our country. we would also appreciate further sharing of good practice, projects and information.
- If you compare the current situation with five years ago, regarding the implementation of the right to rehabilitation services for blind people and for people with partial sight, would you say that in your country:
- a. nothing has changed (explain )
- b. The situation has worsened (explain why and how)
- c. The situation has improved (explain why and how)
The situation has slightly improved. After rehabilitation services have been enacted, we have launched service also in practice. But on the other hand, the implementation is very slow and waiting period to enter the services is to long.
- Is further action needed in your country? If yes, please explain what needs to be done.
Many further actions are needed in our country. First and foremost, further lobbying and promoting of rehabilitation services and awareness-raising activities are required. Our wish is to make services available to everybody in their local community. Secondly, we need to campaign for medical and technical aids that are either not on the lists of rights or are on the other hand to expensive and not affordable for people with sight loss. Also, there is lack of low vision experts in our country thus our organisation will strive to improve and encourage decision makers to support education in this area.
- Please send any articles, material, training, standards, protocols, or links that you feel could perhaps serve your colleagues in other EBU countries aiming at high standards services for everyone with sight loss.