The main task of the Latvian Blind Society Rehabilitation Centre is to provide social rehabilitation services to persons with visual impairments. According to the Law on Social Services and Social Assistance, social rehabilitation service is a set of measures aimed at restoring or improving social functioning abilities in order to ensure the recovery of social status and inclusion in society, and includes services in a person’s place of residence and in a social care and social rehabilitation institution or in a place of residence or in a social care and social rehabilitation institution.SIA “LNB Rehabilitācijas centrs” offers state-funded social rehabilitation services for people with visual disabilities – people with severe visual impairments.
In order to implement social rehabilitation services, the LNB RC has developed social rehabilitation programmes for persons with visual impairments.
The first rehabilitation programme was developed by the specialists of the LNB RC on 10 November 1999 on the basis of their long-term work experience, the experience of the Volokolamsk School for Restoration of Working Abilities (Russia), “Theofaan” Centre (the Netherlands), the Royal National Institute for the Blind, Birmingham University (Great Britain), Minneapolis Association for the Blind (USA), Marburg Institute for the Blind (Germany), Arla Institute for the Blind (Finland), etc. Materials, literature and training for visually impaired rehabilitation and education institutions. This programme was extended and improved in January 2005.
In 2009, the specialists of the Latvian National Library of Latvia, members of the Latvian Society of the Blind and other invited specialists developed an in-depth social rehabilitation programme for persons with visual impairments within the framework of the project “Development of social rehabilitation services for persons with visual impairments in Latvia”, No.1DP/22.214.171.124.2./09/IPIA/NVA/002 financed by the European Social Fund and the Latvian State. The Latvian Society of the Blind, implementing this project from 2009 to 2013 in the whole territory of Latvia, validated the developed programme, involving 1100 persons with visual impairment in the social rehabilitation process.
The aim of the social rehabilitation programme is to provide the person to be rehabilitated with knowledge and skills in personal development, enabling him/her to fully integrate into the social and cultural system. According to research in psychology, personal needs include needs for nutrition, clothing, housing, health, education, security, family, friendship, group support, love, communication, social status, recognition, respect, influence, success at work and in private life, well-being, fulfilment of personal potential and self-development. The programmes therefore aim to raise awareness among people with visual impairments and society at large of the possibilities to improve the quality of life of people with disabilities, to motivate them to live more independently, to promote new education and job opportunities, and to integrate people with disabilities into society.
By combining and structuring the above programmes, new social rehabilitation programmes have been created that enable individuals to acquire the knowledge and skills to meet not only their basic needs, but also to motivate them to improve their quality of life, develop their individual talents, and improve themselves to be able to live fully in a particular environment.
Social rehabilitation touches many areas of life; after rehabilitation, a person becomes more independent, can better fulfil himself in studies or work, express himself creatively, learn to do many things that are very important in everyday life – finding his way around, shopping, etc. That is why the content of rehabilitation – the rehabilitation programmes that the person learns from – plays a crucial role in the rehabilitation process. Our specialists have reworked and improved old programmes and are happy to offer new ones. New programmes are more flexible, more focused on the individual resources of the person and how they can be used in the rehabilitation process.
A total of five social rehabilitation programmes are in operation:
– “Evaluation and motivation programme”,
– “Programme for basic social functioning skills”,
– “Social Skills Development Programme”,
– “Social Integration Programme”,
– “Basic Social Functioning Skills Training in a Rural Environment”.
Short programmes are, by their very nature, ladders. You start your journey and climb higher and higher as you learn. They enable people to acquire the knowledge and skills to meet not only their basic needs, but also to motivate them to improve their quality of life, to develop their individual talents, to improve themselves in order to be able to live fully in a particular environment.
Each programme consists of several modules and sub-modules. The names of the training modules may be similar, but the topics, the level of complexity and the objectives of the training process differ, e.g. first-time clients, when starting to receive rehabilitation services, engage in a “Motivation and Assessment Programme”, during which professionals have the opportunity to assess in practice what skills and knowledge a person lacks that prevent them from performing the most necessary functions of everyday life independently and without supervision and support from others. The client can study several modules at different levels according to his/her knowledge and skills.
According to the Model Rules adopted by the United Nations General Assembly at its 48th session on 20 December 1993, rehabilitation is a process aimed at enabling a disabled person to reach and maintain his or her optimum level of physical, sensory, intellectual, mental and social functioning and at providing him or her with the necessary means to transform his or her life towards an ever higher level of independence. Rehabilitation includes aids to establish or restore function or to compensate for lost, missing or limited function. It includes a wide range of assistive activities from several disciplines, and general rehabilitation is activity-oriented.
Each country should develop a national rehabilitation programme for all types of disabled people. Such a programme should include a wide range of activities, including the acquisition of basic skills to improve or compensate for lost functions, counselling of disabled persons and their families, development of self-sufficiency, including assessment and referral.
Rehabilitation should be accessible to all disabled people who need it, including people with severe disabilities and people with multiple disabilities.
All types of rehabilitation services should be accessible to people with disabilities in their own homes. Where necessary, courses shall be organised by the institutions concerned, during which disabled persons shall stay in these institutions in order to achieve certain training objectives.
The following legislative acts regulate the procedure for receiving social rehabilitation services:
* «Disability law» (entered into force 1 January 2011);
* Law of «social security» (entered into force 5 Ocotber 1995);
* «Law on Social Services and Social Assistance» (entered into force on 1 January 2003;
* Cabinet of Ministers Regulation No 338 «Requirements for social service providers» (entered into force on 1 June 2017);
* Cabinet of Ministers Regulation No 250 «Procedure for the Latvian Society of the Blind and the Latvian Association of the Deaf to provide social rehabilitation services and technical aids – tiflotehnika and surdotehnika» (entered into force on 1 May 2021).