Austria

A year after the Austrian Federal Government passed its Disability Concept, integrative schooling for disabled and non-disabled children during the first eight years of schooling has been thought of in the School Act passed in 1993 and 1996.

The Austrian Federal Constitution was even amended to protect persons with disability (PWDs) in the country against discrimination!

These being the case, PWDs and non-PWDs alike are guaranteed equal treatment in Austria. The Federal Ministry for Social Administration has also thought of the rehabilitation concept, which dealt primarily with issues of rehabilitation, advice for disabled people and the principles of “sheltered workshops.”

In Austria, “persons who are threatened with a permanent and substantial physical, mental or emotional impairment in an area of social relationship in the foreseeable future are also regarded as disabled.” These social relationships are child-rearing, education, employment, other occupations, communication, living and leisure activities.

“Institutional stays” are not encouraged in Austria; pensions or care benefits would be only approved once all forms of rehabilitation have been exhausted. There is even a central appliances advice bureau set up by the Provincial Invalid Office for Vienna, Lower Austria and Burgenland to maintain comprehensive, computerized documentation on all the appliances available in the marketplace for disabled people. The Austrian Standardisation Institute would be the one responsible with the technical issues through “a permanent specialist standards committee” that consists of experts, representatives of organisations for disabled people, and the appliance advice centre.

Austria believes that “integration into society can therefore be most likely to succeed if disabled and non-disabled people learn to live together right from early childhood.” As such, the Federal Government intends to (1) replace tax allowances for disabled people with deductible amounts or direct cash benefits; (2) provide the national fund for special assistance for disabled people with adequate financing; and (3) ensure that disabled people have access to information and counselling.

“Disability is one of the many forms in which human life occurs: it should be accepted as such and the people concerned should not be excluded in any way from participating in society.” ~ Federal Ministry for Labour and Social Affairs in co-operation with Österreichische Arbeitsgemeinschaft für Rehabilitation

Video taken from the YouTube Channel of UniCredit Bank Austria AG

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