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Content

  1. Preface
  2. Report from the board
  3. The sub regions
  4. Financial report 2008
  5. Looking to the future
  6. Members of the Board as of December 31st 2008
  7. ICEVI-SUBREGIONS within Europe

1 Preface

As you will read in this report, 2008 has been a year with many ICEVI activities.
Several conferences have taken place and for the second time the European Conference on Psychology and Visual Impairment.

In this way ICEVI-Europe has stimulated the international exchange of knowledge and skills in the field of education and rehabilitation of people with visual impairment.

The new brochure provides publicity for the European section of ICEVI and many new members have subscribed.

In the report you can read detailed information about activities in the several sub-regions in Europe.

The Board hopes that you will read the report with interest and is open to your suggestions and remarks.

The Board would like to thank everyone who has contributed to the activities of ICEVI-Europe.

This report is approved in the General Assembly of ICEVI-Europe on 9 July 2009 in Dublin, Ireland.

Huizen, The Netherlands, April 2009
On behalf of the Board,
Hans Welling, Chairman

2 Report from the board

In 2008 the Board had one meeting in Huizen, The Netherlands.

The most important theme during this meeting was the preparations for the European conference in July 2009 in Dublin, Ireland. The theme of the conference “Living in a changing Europe” was discussed and the meaning of this for people with a visual impairment, professionals and professional organisations.

Concerning the structure of the conference, interactive sessions were advocated, aimed at reflection. At the end of the year the scientific committee was very active evaluating more than 200 abstracts. The members of the scientific committee were Mary Lee, Heather Mason and Peter Rodney.

During the report year many conferences took place.
The European Conference on Early Intervention for Families with Children with Visual Impairment ( Hungary), the International Scientific Practical Conference Inclusive Education (Russia), the 4th ICEVI-Balkan conference (Turkey) and the Conference -Quality of Education (Lithuania) and the 2nd Conference on Psychology and Visual Impairment (The Netherlands). In addition conferences were attended, like the conference on Participation, organised by VBS in Germany. You can read more in the report.

With the support of the EU, a second meeting was held of the committee that is occupied with the development of a European Masters Degree for those, who are working in the field of education and rehabilitation of people with visual impairments.
In the coming years more conferences will take place to develop the curriculum.
The curriculum will be based on the International Classification of Functioning, Disabilities and Health.

During the report year the European Newsletter was published three times.
For budgetary reasons it was decided to discontinue the printed version of the newsletter. The Board is pleased that the newsletter is also available in Russian. For many members from the East European countries the information has become more accessible.

The Target group of ICEVI has been thoroughly discussed by the Board. It was concluded that ICEVI should develop into an organisation of professionals and professional organisations for people with visual impairment, regardless of age i.e. an organisation for the education and rehabilitation of people with visual impairment.
The Executive Committee of ICEVI (EXCO) approved of the idea to continue this way.

This wider target group and wider area for special attention, namely the education and rehabilitation of people with visual impairment will find expression in the European Conference 2009.

During the report year, together with the chairman of ICEVI-West Asia, Tajikistan was visited. Thereafter a programme was developed to improve the quality of life for people with a visual impairment in Tajikistan.

In the EXCO of ICEVI it was decided that Tajikistan should remain within the sub region West Asia. At the same time the possibility was opened up for organisations from Tajikistan to take part in European activities.

At the beginning of 2008 a new ICEVI-Europe brochure was produced.
During the conferences in Europe many new members subscribed.

3 The sub regions

French speaking region

During the past year, no specific meeting of ICEVI took place in the French speaking countries, although some activities encompassed European matters and meetings.

In Luxembourg, the Institute for Visually Impaired People is acting as coordinator of a Comenius project: “Vision and visual perception in learning processes - the classroom situation”. 3 Universities and 9 schools and Institutes will participate: Austria, Bulgaria, Germany, Portugal, Romania, Ireland, Luxembourg, Scotland, Norway, Sweden, Slovenia and Switzerland. Unfortunately, despite the information being passed on, no French school was interested in participating in this project.

In France, from October 16th to 18th 2008, in Lyon, GPEAA had a great success with its conference. The theme was new research in the visual neurosciences and their pedagogical implications and it was organized with the University Lyon II. Many institutes and services are concerned with this question and are trying to find better answers for children with such disabilities. Special trainers from Belgium, Switzerland and France were present.

A delegation of psychologists from ALFPHV (the French language association of psychologists working in the field of visual impairment) took part in the conference in Huizen, Holland, in March 2008. They want to take more part in ICEVI conferences in order to exchange ideas and practice. In their subsequent congress, they planned time for exchanges with European contacts. Some of them will be present at the Dublin Conference.

In August, a small group from Belgium and France participated in the Early Intervention Conference in Budapest. A report has been sent to the ICEVI contact person for the French speaking countries.

Catherine Thibault

English Speaking Region

Representatives for the English speaking regions have been busy preparing for the conference in Dublin this July. A meeting of the programme committee was held in Dublin in February 2009 and preparations are well under way. The abstract choices were finalised and a draft programme drawn up. The venue is in the beautiful setting of Trinity College Dublin, close to the city centre. The programme promises to be interesting and stimulating and very relevant across a diverse range of interests.

Contact persons

Audrey Farrelly has returned from maternity leave and has resumed her post as contact person for Ireland. Paul Lynch has taken over from Mike McLinden as contact person for England. Nicola Crews has acted for Wales. Vacancies exist for contact persons for the UK.

Mary Lee

The Report of the German and Dutch speaking region

I will not be running for a further legislative period. Therefore I will leave the board in the summer. Over the last year I have been thinking about improvements in the work of the region.

I have analysed the situation together with Hans Welling and Eberhard Fuchs. We asserted that work in the field of education for the blind in our region is very strongly connected with the work of the VBS (Verband der Blinden- und Sehbehindertenpädagogen). For this reason, we agreed that the future board-member of ICEVI Europe should also be a board-member of VBS.

Dieter Feser, the new chairman of the VBS and successor to Eberhard Fuchs, has agreed to run for the board. Following that, I have sent an enquiry to the contact persons of the region in agreement with Hans Welling, asking whether they would support the candidacy of Dieter Feser. The contact persons of the Netherlands and Austria have spoken positively; no message has come from the others.

Dieter Feser will run for the board of the German and Dutch speaking region in Dublin.

In July 2008 the VBS-Kongress meeting of nearly 700 people working with blind and visually impaired took place in Hannover. Inclusion was one of the main discussion points at the conference. A very important input on inclusion came from the people of ICEVI-Europe.

Karsten Hohler

East-European Region

The list of countries of the East-European region consists of: Belarus, Moldova, Russia and Ukraine.
This list can be filled up with five further countries: Azerbaijan, Armenia, Georgia, Kazakhstan and Tajikistan. As you will remember at our previous meeting, we are increasing the work with Tajikistan. Since geographically Tajikistan is in the Asian region, Mr. Bhushan - ICEVI-Asian president was involved in this process as well. In August a business meeting took place in Tajikistan. As a result of this meeting some projects have developed. Active work with Tajikistan is beginning.

The annual International Festival of Arts for children with health problems took place in March in St.-Petersburg - this project also was held under the umbrella of ICEVI. More than 200 children from 6 countries participated. The purpose of the project was:

  1. socialisation of children with health issues;
  2. development of tolerance in society.

Teamwork between ICEVI and the school for v.i. children in Tolyatti City (Central Russia) took place in May, 2008. The Fund of Tolyatti has organised a trip for children to France. Under the support of ICEVI, children have visited the Rehabilitation Centre in Anjou. Parents and teachers thank colleagues of the Rehabilitation Centre and especially Kethrin for their organisation of a warm meeting for the Russian children. It was a good experience of work for teachers and children. The Russian children have invited the French children to visit Tolyatti City.

For a long time, together with ICEVI, we have been preparing a project on the organisation of coursework between the Universities of the East-European Region. In July we have started the project “ XXI century - a century of open society for all”. The purpose of the project:
the creation of a network of services for v.i. children and students in the East-European and Asian regions.
The first conference has taken place in November in Saratov State University (Central Russia). Themes of the conference:

  1. International Classification of Functioning, Disabilities and Health (ICF), the base for the education and rehabilitation of children with visual impairment.
  2. Inclusive Education of Children with Visual Impairment, responding to student diversity.

There were more than 150 participants from 6 countries. The 2nd conference will take place in Moldova in October, 2009. The themes:

  1. Socialisation of v.i. children.
  2. Low vision.

In July, 2008 In The Crimea, Alupka City, a Ukrainian project was organised with the international participation of experts from Poland and Russia and the support of ICEVI. The purpose of the project:
development of an innovative model of social services - organisation and carrying out of courses for parents at "Mama school".

One more project: the paper-bag for the International project «TEMPUS» has been prepared. The consortium consists of 10 universities and ICEVI is the coordinator of this project.

In August experts from Armenia, Russia and Ukraine participated in the International Conference on "Early intervention" in Budapest, Hungary.

We have more than 20 new ICEVI members from the East-European Region and 1 from Tajikistan.

We actively cooperate with the ICEVI Newsletter. In 2008-2009 3 articles were published. We have a Russian version of the Newsletter and Brochure.

Wishes:

  1. In ICEVI there are many people from the East-European region, especially Russia. Therefore the members of ICEVI kindly ask the Board to consider this when granting supported places for the conferences.
  2. Colleagues from Belarus who make the Russian version of the Newsletter, kindly ask that the newspaper have a Russian translation; and again kindly ask the board to consider an opportunity to receive payment for the translation.
  3. Concerning the website - there is an offer to expand the Home Page, to make it more informative and to translate it into Russian.

Liliya Plastunova

Central Europe region

Czech Republic (Ema Gallova, contact person)

The new contact person was established – Mgr. Ema Gallová, Bc. from the Jan Deyl Conservatory and Secondary School for Visually Impaired in Prague.

Activities:

The group of institutions and individuals from the special education and social field of visual impairment were informed of ICEVI - Europe organisation, the Dublin conference and other future plans. The translation of the bulletin gave the possibility for all to become members of ICEVI-Europe. There was the National meeting of Education and Rehabilitation of Visually Impaired in November 4th 2008, where the proposal for cooperation in the Czech Republic was declared and the ICEVI material on integration was distributed. Their translation was also a part of materials for the conference on integration during the “Week for inclusion” in September.

Legacy:

Czech Republic ratified the OSN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
The Ministry of Education declares its concept of inclusive education and edits conceptual material about education, the so called “White Book”.
The Ministry of Social Affairs declares a single valued target – social inclusion and equal opportunities.

Early Intervention:

The Association for Early Intervention in Czech Rep. cooperated on the organisation and realisation of European Early Intervention conference „Theory meeting practice“, in Budapest, Hungary, August 2008. Six Czech early interventionists took active part in the conference. The early intervention interest group of ICEVI – Europe was established.

Hungary (Krisstina Kovács, contact person)

1.) Early Intervention

In August, 2008 we held a European meeting of early interventionists.
There is a new regulation concerning early intervention in Hungary. There has to be 2 times 2 hours direct service to the child with special needs to get financial support from the state. This is too rigid and does not support the needs of the family.

2.) School aged children

The Kettesy School for Low Vision Children in Debrecen has less and less children even if they accept blind and multiply impaired children as well. The municipality withdrew the permission to serve integrated children at local schools in the county. There is a danger that the school will be closed.
Inclusion is the leading form of education for children with blindness and low vision in Hungary but itinerant services are not sufficient (low number of services, low number of itinerant teachers, missing regional services, low financing, etc.)

3.) Rehabilitation

Good news: the first 26 trained rehabilitation teachers of persons with visual impairment have finished their training and got their diplomas. I supervised 10 persons in the East part of Hungary. They are doing a good job.
Now we have 8 different regional rehabilitation services in Hungary.
The training will be continued from September 2009.

Slovak Republic (Elena Mendelova, contact person)

Legislation

In Slovakia the new Educational Act has been voted through. It is valid since September 2008 (Act No 245/2008). Institutes of itinerant teachers and resource centres have been included for the first time and can be used in the education of pupils with disabilities with support from the government.

Most important activities in education of visually impaired and people/ staff working in this field

Activity in the education of visually impaired pupils and students and people working in this field increased as well as the number of institutions and organisations providing education, training and meetings of experts.

Department of special education - Comenius University, Faculty of Education
Special primary school for pupils with visual impairment in Levoca

Organised special training for teachers and parents focused on guidance for children with VI;

Special primary school for pupils with visual impairment in Bratislava

The number of multi-disabled pupils with visual impairment increased.

Slovak society for special and therapeutic pedagogy
Support Centre for Visually Impaired Students at Comenius University
Most important projects
Department of special education, Comenius University, Faculty of Education

Project Via Lucis finished: focused on

Special primary school for pupils with visual impairment in Levoca

The project Training for teachers of visually impaired finished in 2008

Non-profit organisation for visually impaired in Levoca

To provide continuity of Matra project the organisation employed itinerant teachers for pupils with visual impairment with the financial support of Ministry of Education SR.

Support Centre for Visually Impaired Students at Comenius University

Poland, Slovenia – no reports

Teresie Hradilkova

South European region

During 2008 ONCE has published two educational multimedia games for blind and visually impaired children between the ages of 4 and 7, useful also for sighted children - the reason why they are having a lot of success in ordinary schools: “Leocadia the flea” and “The magic word tree”. These two games are available on our web in English and in all the Spanish languages.
http://educacion.once.es/home.cfm?id=176&nivel=2&orden=2

Italy has led a European project, Lambda, an innovative system to ease access to Maths for blind students. Spain has also participated in this project, together with some other European countries.
http://www.lambdaproject.org/default.asp?sec=115

The Spanish ACCEDO Group from ONCE, devoted to accessibility of educational content on the computer, for visually impaired children, has been awarded the Handinnov Prize that recognizes organizations that have introduced exemplary practices in Europe in favor of young disabled people.
http://www.onisep.fr/handinnov/

Spain has celebrated the International exhibition of Assistive Technology for People with Visual Disabilities (Tifloinnova, 21-23 November 2008), organized by ONCE, with a large participation of national and international manufacturers and an attendance of more than 3.000 visitors.

ONCE celebrated, under the auspices of the World Blind Union, from 16th to 20th June 2008 the First International Congress for Blind and Partially Sighted Children. Under the theme “Listening to the Children”, the conference gathered together more than 20 blind and partially sighted young boys and girls from 18 different countries from 14 to 16 years old. They discussed education and visual disabilities.

As usual, we have offered some places for children from Italy and Portugal to come to our summer camps, though this year it hasn’t been possible for them to find any students to come.

As every year, we have offered a scholarship for blind students to study in ONCE’s Physiotherapy College

Our contact person in Portugal is working together with Hans Welling, trying to organize a European Masters on Education for the Blind and Visually Impaired.

ONCE is in touch with ACAPO (Portugal) trying to organize a training seminar for Portuguese teachers who work with blind and partially sighted children.

ONCE has also organized several activities with schools and resource centers from Bulgaria, exchanges with students from France and the United Kingdom...

Unfortunately we don’t have any more information about the countries in our sub region. We haven’t been able to have any meeting with our contact persons this year, though we have been in touch with them through e-mail. It’s very difficult for us to find any contact person in Malta, Andorra, and San Marino.

ONCE will continue promoting activities in its sub region and will try to improve contacts with Malta, Andorra and San Marino.

Ana Isabel Ruiz Lopez

Nordic and Baltic

From Denmark

Institute for the Blind and Partially Sighted
Curriculums are ready to be tested

Throughout the summer the curriculums for the courses developed in KnowProVip EU project have been finished and are now ready to be tested. The aim of the courses is to give a brief but highly informative introduction for professionals who are going to work in a new area within the field of visual impairment. The content is Refugees/immigrants Ages 60 and over / Acquired deaf blindness

Seminar on Echolocation

In the spring, IBOS hosted a seminar on Echolocation. The speaker was Daniel Kish, a blind O&M instructor from USA. Another seminar was held on accessibility in the public domain.

European network for psychologists

In March Peter Rodney and Peter Verstraten from Sensis joined a meeting in Vilnius to prepare the 3rd conference for the European network of psychologists and related professions working in the field of Visual Impairment. The conference will be held on the 30th and 31st of March 2010.

News from synscenter Refsnæs

During 2009 - 11 we are participating in a MDVI Comenius project called Sound and Picture together with Sweden, Norway, Finland, Latvia, Luxembourg, Italy, Ireland and Northern Ireland. The RoboBraille-service is an ongoing success and continues to win prizes. To check out the latest news and features of the service go to www.robobraille.org and try it out. It is free of charge to all non-commercial users.

From Finland

A series of lectures on CVI has been carried out in Oulu (Uleåborg) in 2007, in Tampere in 2008, Åbo was this year’s effort and next year they will take place in Joensuu. We hope that in time they will have been delivered in many more venues in Finland and especially that we will learn to better understand the problems with visual information that these children face and how their brains are equipped to deal with them and what we can do to help this process.

From Sweden

The National Agency for Special Needs Education and Schools was established on 1 July 2008 for the purpose of coordinating the government’s support for special needs education. The agency takes over the former functions of the National Agency for Special Educational Support, the Swedish Institute for Special Needs Education and the National Agency for Special Schools for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing.

From Lithuania

In February, 2008, Mrs. C. van Gendt, Child psychologist of Visio (the Netherlands) and Mr. H. Welling, Chairman of the ICEVI Europe in the Ministry of Education of Lithuania presented a report about Early Intervention and Inclusive Education in Lithuania “FREEDOM TO CHOOSE”.

20th - 29th July, 2008, 3 teachers and 3 students from Kaunas District Training Centre for Blind and Visually Impaired participated in the 5th International Tandem Camp for blind and visually impaired young people organized by Tandem-Help’s project (Germany).

16th – 17th October, 2008, the international conference “Quality education – the accepted right of blind and visually impaired people” took place in Vilnius.

From Estonia

The Estonian Ministry of Education has launched a three-year project on creating a system of educational counselling for children with special needs. There will be counselling centres established in every county and in addition two special centres – one for hearing disability and the other for visual impairment created in Estonia.

From Norway

The project ADL performance in society and social perspective for children and youth with visual impairment is a joint venture between Assistanse and Tambartun National Recourse Centre for the Visually Impaired. Assistanse is a Non-Government organisation (NGO) for parents of children and youth with visual impairment in Norway. The project is supported by the foundation “Health and Rehabilitation” and the project duration is between January 1st, 2007 and December 31st, 2008.

Peter Rodney

4 Financial report 2008

Balance

Balance
  31-12 2008 (EUR) 31-12 2007 (EUR)
Cash 675,24 0
Equity 17.959,18 16.153,52
Total 18.634,18 16.153,52

Profit and loss

Profit and loss
  2008 (EUR) 2007 (EUR)
Income
Contributions 7.162,25 11.170,00
Interest - -
Other income 1.369,43 -
Total income 8.531,68 11.170,00
Expenditures
Website costs 1.400,00 1.044,15
Printing costs 4.527,64 3.500,00
Travel and accommodation 570,00 -
costs meetings 27,00 81,25
Postage costs 10,25 131,25
Bank costs 86,13 11.30
Total expenditures 6.051,02 4.767,95
Result 2.480,66 6.402,05

Estimate 2009

Estimate 2009
  2009 (EUR)
Income
Contributions 9.500,00
Interest -
Other income -
Total income 9.500,00
Expenditures
Website costs 1.400,00
Printing costs 250,00
Travel and accommodation 2.500,00
Costs meetings -
Postage costs -
Bank costs 90,00
ICEVI World 4.000,00
Total expenditures 8.490,00
Estimated result 1.010,00
Equity as of 31-12-2008 16.634,18
Available for other projects -

5 Looking to the future

The sharing of knowledge in the field of Education and Rehabilitation of people with visual impairment is the most important activity of ICEVI-Europe.

For the coming year we will hold the European Conference 2009 in Dublin, Ireland with the theme Living in a Changing Europe. During this conference there will be a possible meeting of European service providers, who cooperate with organisations in developing countries. It is important to exchange information, but at the same time we can investigate if connections can be made with the Education for All Children with Visual Impairment programme in order to realise the goal of the UN.

The International Scientific Practical Conference Inclusive Education: Experience and Prospects for representatives from East European Countries in Saratov (Russia) will be followed by a conference in Moldova and maybe by another further conference somewhere else.

Preparations will be made for the Teacher Training conference in 2010, possibly in Austria.
In order to develop the curriculum for the European Masters programme a first conference of teachers and lecturers from the participating European universities will take place in 2009 with the support of the EU. This conference will be held in The Netherlands.

In the coming year a meeting will take place with Enviter and MDVI. It is important to intensify and formalise the cooperation between both organisations, in order to achieve synergism and a clear image inside and outside Europe.

During the Dublin Conference the General Assembly will take place. The annual report will be discussed, the (re) elections of the chairman, the Board members and the country representatives.
This conference will also offer the opportunity for regional meetings.

Members of the Board as of December 31st 2008

Advisors

ICEVI-SUBREGIONS within Europe

Baltic and Nordic Countries

English speaking Countries.

French speaking Countries

South European Countries

German and Dutch speaking Countries

Central European Countries

East European Countries

Balkan Countries


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