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Deafblind (more than 100,000), ‘invisible’ and often isolated: ‘We also have the right to a dignified life’

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They live in darkness and silence, many have that difficulty with normal daily activities such as shopping, cooking, washing, dressing, many do not receive help. In our country the deafblind peopleie those who do not see and do not hear are approx 100 thousand (from 16 years), but they go up to approx 262 thousand if we add the Italians who, in addition to being deprived of sight and hearing, they also have motor impairments at the same time, while in Europe there are more than one million and 400 thousand . An army of often ‘invisible’ people who are at risk of being locked up in solitary confinement. This is evident from the “New study on the population of deafblind people with sensory and multiple disabilities in severe conditions”, commissioned by the non-profit Lega del Filo d’Oro Foundation and carried out by Istat, presented in Rome. The study, now in its second edition and extended to the European context, examined the living conditions of deafblind people through the International ICF classification (International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health), who believes that the disability as the result of the negative interaction between the person and the environment in which he livesin accordance with the provisions of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

The research

This is evident from the study six out of ten deafblind people are older than 65, one in four lives alone. More than youone person out of two has only a primary education diplomathus the limited access to education very few job opportunitiesi incomes of the families in which they live very lowmaking them among the poorest populations. As for the degree of autonomy in daily activities, the research shows that in the subgroup of the over-65s past 43 percent find serious difficulties in performing household activitiesas regards 16 percent claims to have at least one serious difficulty in both personal care and household activities. Among these almost 4 out of 10 people cannot count on anyone’s help.

Many elderly without help

«The focus on people with sensory disabilities over the age of 65 describes very well the difficulties they encounter in normal daily activities, especially in personal care and household activities such as shopping, many need help that they often do not have – underlines Alessandro Solipaca, Istat – researcher – . In perspective, theThe sophistication of home support networks will exacerbate these people’s problems that they cannot count on that support. The data suggest the need for targeted interventions from our social security system, based too much on economic transfers and little on the supply of s
personal assistance services».

Good practice

What can be done to improve the living conditions of deafblind people?
“Play for reduce the environmental variables that influence the state of disability – says Professor Carlo Ricci, chairman of the scientific and ethical technical committee of the non-profit Lega del Filo d’Oro foundation – . The experience of the Lega del Filo d’Oro shows that it is possible apply good practices to improve the quality of life of people with sensory disabilities, which can be mitigated through appropriate interventions”. Rossano Bartoli, President of the Lega del Filo d’Oro added: “It is necessary to provide answers to many deafblind people who living in isolation, who have the right to rehabilitation, to school, to work, to a dignified life; starting from full recognition of their rights through revision and full application of law 107/2010» continues Bartoli, adding: «It is also necessary to identify new ways of responding, for example through our intervention model to residential facilities for the elderly, where most people with multiple sensory disabilities are located, and to operate ever closer to the origin of the users.”

Regulatory limbo

The lawn. 107 of 2010, «Measures for the recognition of the rights of deafblind people», she admits deafblindness as a unique specific disability. In our country, however, a person can be classified as deafblind if, in addition to the visual impairment – which can develop throughout life – there is also a hearing impairment, provided that the impairment is congenital or, if acquired, develops with age and such as jeopardizing the normal learning of spoken language. So, blind people are not considered deafblind, what they are become deaf after the twelfth yearAnd neither the ones that are born without any sensory impairment, then deafblind at age twelve. Thus one regulatory limbo which effectively excludes the recognition of a large number of deafblind people and consequently denies them specific services tailored to their real needs.

The appeal to the institutions and the response of the minister

“Let’s flip ours appeal to the institutions so that in Italy the process of review and full application of Law 107/2010 does not stop» says the president of the Lega del Filo d’Oro. For her part, Minister of Disability Alessandra Locatelli assured: «I intend to continue technical and political studies on the standard which, although specific to the recognition of deafblindness, in recent years has not been able to better intercept the standard. needs of all deafblind people, creating substantial disparities in access to benefits and therefore inadequate for the purposes of overall protection. One of the first commitments is ensure that the law makes it possible for all deafblind people to receive answers».

Source: Corriere

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