It is true that the Act has been a step forward for advancing disability equality in Austria. However, improvements are urgently needed! Other laws, such as the Americans with Disability Act or the UK Equality Act, include already injunctive reliefs. The introduction of these kind of reliefs would enhance truly the right to accessibility for all persons with disabilities in Austria!

More in German on http://www.bizeps.or.at/gleichstellung/

 

Suzanne_Swedisch Personal Assistance Policy|(c)STIL

Swedish Personal Assistance Policy

Personal assistance has been described as ‘a revolution’ and is considered the most important achievement of the disability reform. The system of cash payments towards eligible individuals created a competitive market for personal assistance services consisting of about 15,900 assistance users, 230 local governments and over 1,100 private entities, these last employing a total of 60,000 (full-time equivalent) personal assistants.

It enabled assistance users and their family members to return to work and provides jobs to people who often would otherwise live on unemployment insurance. It has been estimated that taxpayers have saved a minimum of SEK29 billion since 1994, compared to the costs of local governments’ services!

Visit www.independentliving.org or www.enil.eu to know more about the independent living movement

Support by a Personal Ombudsman shows highly positive response rates and reduces guardianship, isolation, drug addiction, homelessness, suicide and violence amongst the individuals addressed. As well, calculations have shown that PO operations reduce costs by approximately €80,000 per assisted person over a five year period!

That is why Sweden decided to expand this system on a national level. In 2010, 325 POs employed in over 100 businesses provided support to more than 6,000 individuals throughout the country. Interestingly, a personal support system was recently started also by Oslo and one currently operates in Helsinki. Cities such as San Francisco, Vancouver, Sydney, Budapest, Riga and Prague have similar plans.

Visit www.po-skane.org

 

Italy-Inclusive-Education|(c)Superando

Italy-Inclusive-Education

Italy is, so far, the only European country in which almost all (99.6%) disabled pupils, out of a total of 170,000 (in 2007-2008), were included in mainstream schools.

In Italy inclusive education is achieved with the help of over 90,000 specialized teachers for learning support and an additional 25,000 educators employed by the schools. As well, physical barriers in access to schools have been almost eliminated. An amendment of 1999 concerned inclusive university settings and, as a result, an impressive 12,400 disabled students were enrolled in Italian universities in 2006, tripling within only six years!

Numbers for all European countries are available at www.european-agency.org

78% are victims of crime

As established by the Investigation and Testimony Procedures Law, in Israel, a Special Investigator is now assisting police
interrogations of persons with disabilities.  In addition, the law provides for important adaptations to the testimony given in court, including the exemption from cross-examination as a witness.

From 2007 to 2010, there were 2,400 requestsfor special investigations. Almost 1,780 persons with intellectual disabilities were interrogated. The majority of the cases recorded – 78 percent – constituted victims of crime! Cases were brought to court which beforehand would have been dismissed.

Visit the website of BIZCHUT http://bizchut.org.il/en/

Advocates celebrate Representation Agreement Act passed |(c) NIDUS

Advocates celebrate Representation Agreement Act passed

Representation Agreements are praised by the disability community as highly successful in providing legal recognition of supported decision-making. They significantly prevent guardianship and are the reason why the number of private guardianships has remained fairly stable during the last years!

Mary&Rep|(c)Nidus

Nidus_Mary&Rep

The non-profit organisation Nidus provides a centre for excellence in Best Practice with personal planning and supported decisionmaking, and operates a centralised registry with some 5,000 records. For more information, please visit http://www.nidus.ca/

Web-TV_deaf-camaraman-during-the-recoding-of-the-interview

(c)Web-TV-Gorazd-Oresnik-and-Sašo-Letonja

Web TV (www.deaf-tv.si) is a specialised medium for hearing impaired people and public in general. Its main role is to provide information to the deaf/hard of hearing in comprehensible way: using Slovenian sign language (SSL), plus subtitling and voice, and taking into consideration their different needs.

Web TV was established in 2007 by the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Clubs Association of Slovenia. It is the only medium in the Slovenian media space that, 24/7, provides linguistically adjusted and relevant information for the deaf, with subtitling the rôle of the Slovenian state!

Specialist-People-Foundation_Technology

(c)Bogdan Szymczyk

Specialisterne is a for-profit company designed to assess, train and employ people with ASD (autism spectrum disorders).

Specialist People Foundation is a not-for-profit organization with the goal of enabling one million jobs for people with ASD and similar challenges and thereby making societies globally respect and accommodate people with ASD as equal citizens.

The Specialist People Foundation aims to enable sustainable businesses based on the skills of people with ASD in a global network of collaboration and knowledge share licensees. With local Specialisterne “showcases”, we demonstrate to society the value of employing people with ASD.

VerbaVoice_student

(c)Hristo-Trajkovski

VerbaVoice provides a unique solution to the barriers deaf and hard of hearing people currently face in their daily life – especially in education and on the labour market.

Via an online platform, any deaf or hard of hearing person can book and connect to a speech-to-text reporter (STTR) whenever necessary: the voice of the speaker is transmitted to a laptop or mobile phone, transcribed in real time by the STTR, who is working from home, and displayed on the screen of the laptop or phone of the deaf or hard of hearing user.

The STTR “re-voices” the content word for word so that speech recognition software – trained specifically to decipher his or her voice – can convert the spoken content into text. As the text is being produced, it is corrected by the STTR before being transmitted to the client’s laptop or mobile phone with a minimal time lag. This is only possible because VerbaVoice is putting a strong focus on technology development and has combined existing and in-house software solutions (patent pending) to achieve the best possible outcomes.

There are some interesting results, both positive and negative, amongst the social indicators in the Zero Project Report 2012.  For example, on the positive side, much seems to have been done both to ensure the accessibility of buildings open to the public and that, for those who need it, sign language is increasingly a sine qua non in the courts.  However, on the negative side, a great deal of work still needs to be done both in ensuring that, in national emergencies, early warning systems are accessible to all persons with disabilities, and that buses in countries’ capitals, too, really are made accessible to all.