Helios II


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European guide of good practice: Towards equal opportunities for disabled people
Social policy
Vocational training
Working conditions
Education policy



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COMMISSIO N HELIOS II - European Guide of Good Practice Contents
Preface 5
Introduction 7
The principles of good practice 13
1 Social integration and independent living7
Introduction 1
Principles of good practice in social integration and independent living 19
Good practice in action 20
2 Educational integration 33
Principles of good practice in educational integration4
Key aspects of good practice inl integration 35
Good practice in action 46
3 Functional rehabilitation 57
Introduction 5
Principles of good practice in functional rehabilitation9
Good practice in action 60
4 Work and preparation for employment 7
Introduction 77
Principles of good practice in work and preparation for employment 79
Good practice in action
Post scriptum 105
HELIOS II - European Guide of Good Practice HELIOS II - European Guide of Good Practice Preface
One of the priorities of the HELIOS II programme, as it
draws to a close at the end of 1996, is to publish a
European guide of good practice towards equal
opportunities for disabled people. The publication of this first
edition, while the programme is still under way, is prompted
by a sense of urgency: HELIOS II is the only European
Community programme which is exclusively devoted to
disabled people. Thus, Member States in search of local
and national solutions for implementing the UN Standard
1Rules ( ) need this resource quickly. Other European (1) See Appendix C.
Community programmes concerned with quality criteria for
their funding strategies also eagerly await this publication.
The Commission itself, in discussing and planning the
activities of the post-HELIOS II period, must also take into
account the practical outcomes of the current programme.
This publication has been achievable mainly thanks to the
collaboration and effectiveness of the HELIOS II partners.
Agreement with regard to the information to be published
was obtained from all the groups involved, and an Editorial
Board was appointed to ensure a representative selection of
the material. I am therefore confident that this Guide reflects
the essence of the work achieved during the life of the
In pursuit of its aim to promote equal opportunities for and
the integration of disabled people, the HELIOS II
programme seeks to identify, analyse and define innovative
and effective practices, facilitate exchange of information
and promote cooperation between the governments of the
Member States, European Community bodies, international
organisations, organisations of disabled people, the social
partners, etc. This is achieved through a number of
measures which largely rest on one significant underlying
principle: the principle of transfer of know-how and of good
Readers may be aware of the many publications arising
from the HELIOS II programme. For example, many
thematic groups and NGOs are currently publishing their
own concluding technical reports. These will interest many
specialists, and this Guide contains the references available
to date. In a different category, and in line with its
promotional objective, the Guide of Good Practice contains
HELIOS II - European Guide of Good Practice Preface
the essence of the work achieved by the HELIOS II
partners: the latter are selected from all the EU Member
States and the EFTA countries (Iceland, Liechtenstein and
Norway), which progressively joined the programme from
1995. Thus, the sources of material informing the Guide are
taken exclusively from the results of the exchange of
information that takes place within the programme.
I would like to acknowledge the special endeavours of all
those involved in this publication. The members of the
Editorial Board, the members of the study groups, the
representatives of the European non-governmental
organisations (NGOs) and the members of the HELIOS
Team of Experts and of Edinburgh's Telford College all
deserve special thanks for their commitment to this initiative,
for their professionalism and for their hard and speedy work.
I do hope this Guide will stimulate constructive debate at all
levels and contribute to the equalisation of opportunities for
disabled people.
B. Wehrens
Head of Division
Integration of Disabled People (DG V/E.3)
European Commission
HELIOS II - European Guide of Good Practice Introduction
1.Current systems of discrimination
All too often, disability is viewed simply as a problem that an
individual has. In recent years disabled people have begun
to realise that the term «disability» represents a complex
system of social restrictions. For example, wheelchair users
are denied opportunities because the places they wish or
need to travel to and from are inaccessible. Visually
impaired people are denied opportunities simply because
ways to interact fully with the world by non-visual means are
not made available to them. A person with learning
difficulties may fail to learn a task which they have the
potential to perform because the appropriate training
techniques required to assist them are not available, etc.
Equal opportunity can be denied for many reasons. Our
buildings, vehicles, education, healthcare, leisure time and
employment structures are not designed to take full account
of people's differences. Also, many problems for disabled
people arise from the fact that good services in certain
areas of disabled people's lives are not matched in other
areas. For example, if a disabled person has a good
personal assistance programme, has received a good
education and has excellent employment opportunities, the
investment made in personal assistance, education and
employment may be wasted if there is no transport
infrastructure to enable them to travel to and from work.
Equality of opportunity can also be denied for other reasons,
including our place of birth, our financial circumstances, our
manner of speech, our skin colour or our physical appearance.
One tenth of all the citizens of the European Union are disabled
in some way. Seven out of every 10 disabled people develop
their disability during their working life. So it seems intolerable
that society should be constructed in a manner that fails to take
account of the needs and rights of such a large proportion of
the population.
Furthermore, the economic advantages of integrating an active
disabled population are not recognised. Societies function
around the notion of a mythical «normality» which is not
conducive to the development of a holistic approach to policy
and implementation, nor to the empowerment and fulfilment of
disabled people.
HELIOS II - European Guide of Good Practice Introduction
2. The role of the HELIOS II Guide of
Good Practice
A range of social policy measures and instruments
developed in recent years has not established the same
rights and responsibilities for Europe's disabled citizens.
Throughout Europe, different socio-political structures,
different levels of economic development and different
cultures have produced different answers to the general
thrust towards the integration of disabled people in open
Since 1988, the European Commission has actively
promoted cooperation in the field of disability. As a follow-up
to its Medium Term Social Action Programme, the
Commission is currently tabling a communication and a
Council resolution on the equalisation of opportunities and
non-discrimination for disabled people, which should, inter
alia, endorse at EU level the UN Standard Rules on the
Equalisation of Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities,
adopted in 1993.
In practice, the resolution would represent a major political
commitment on the part of the Member States to equal
opportunities for disabled people. While by definition not
legally binding, it would contribute both to the gradual
raising of standards towards best practice at national level
and to increased coordination at EU level.
The publication of the HELIOS II European Guide of Good
Practice is intended to assist the Member States in raising
their standards and in eliminating discrimination and
The Guide contains the main points and conclusions
reached by the HELIOS II partners during the four-year
programme of activities. It provides a wealth of practical
examples of good practices in the implementation of equal
opportunities policies which have been found in different
Member States. It should contribute a valuable reference for
readers involved in issues of policy development. For each
sector of the HELIOS II programme (social integration and
independent living, education, functional rehabilitation and
economic integration), the partners involved in exchange and
information activities and the representatives of the NGO
Europrogrammes have agreed statements of principles
which underpin good practice. These principles are then
HELIOS II - European Guide of Good Practice