The importance of a biopsychosocial disability assessment, considering biological, psychological and social factors, was highlighted last Monday (29) during the opening ceremony of the International Seminar on Disability Assessment, which took place in the Ministry of Human Rights.
The event, which continues on 30-31 October, features experts from Brazil, Denmark, Spain, Portugal, the United kingdom and Latin American countries. They will discuss disability assessment models that are in line with the concept of disability introduced by the 2006 United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
“The disability assessment issue is important because we need to have some rules, a set of circumstances, which can be translated into public policies”, said Izabel Maria Loureiro Maior, member of the State Council for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities from Rio de Janeiro.
Izabel said the committee set up to address this issue has been working tirelessly to achieve both a unified database and an instrument for biopsychosocial disability assessment. They are also analysing issues related to the structure and composition of assessment teams, as well as what public bodies will be responsible for assessments and how Brazil will, in fact, get out of its current situation, mostly based on medical reports and the ICD for the assessment of functioning.
"Currently, there are 32 federal public policies on disability, in addition to state and municipal ones. A person with a disability would need 32 medical certificates to tap into each one of them. This does not make sense. It is a waste of energy and resources, besides causing a series of injustices. It is crucial to have one single certificate or document that can guarantee access to policies" Izabel explains.
The purpose of this seminar is to exchange experience with countries that have already changed their legislation or are in the process of moving from the purely medical-based disability assessment model (ICD) to a more comprehensive definition of disability (ICF), considering physical, sensory, mental and intellectual impairments in interaction with environmental factors, as established by the Convention.
Marco Antonio Pellegrini, National Secretary for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, said that Brazil can play a leading role in the area of rights of persons with disabilities. The event is yet another important step taken by the country "to ensure equal opportunities for persons with and without disabilities and to create a unified disability assessment model".
Claudia Gintersdorfer, Deputy Head of the European Union Delegation to Brazil, spoke on the European Disability Strategy 2010-2020, which has eight priority areas: accessibility, participation, equality, employment, education/ training, social protection, health and external action, and highlighted the actions focused on education. "The European Commission has launched several education initiatives for persons with disabilities, such as the European Agency for Development in Special Needs Education and a specific study group on disability and lifelong learning".
The international seminar was organized by the Ministry of Human Rights, through the National Secretariat for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, and by the EU Delegation to Brazil through the EU - Brazil Sector Dialogues Support Facility.
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