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Multiply Disabled, Visually Impaired Persons in Switzerland

Background and aims

Adequate care and support for persons with a mental disability and visual impairment is not always easy to achieve. Inadequate information und underestimation of the need for support for these complex disabilities can result in the affected persons and parents not receiving the necessary information, support and specific promotion. It is assumed that in Switzerland a large number of mentally disabled, visually impaired persons do not have adequate access to care and support appropriate to visually impaired persons. This can lead to unrecognised adverse consequences on the learning process, and the neglect of stimulating surroundings, social participation and further development areas.

Little information about the special promotion of these children is available in Switzerland. It is assumed that in many Swiss institutions, the emphasis falls on the multiple disabilities of these persons. Visual impairment and the possibility of special support and advice are little known. There is no systematic overview of these options in Switzerland at present.
Commissioned by the parent organisation for the blind and partially sighted in Switzerland (SZB Zentralverein für das Blindenwesen), the Hochschule für Heilpädagogik undertook a study of the situation of mentally disabled persons with visual impairments in Switzerland.

The investigation provides an overview of the situation of mentally disabled, visually-impaired people in Switzerland so that the care in the area of visual impairment can be optimised in one of the next stages. In particular, the number of these people in Switzerland, their life situation and the situation regarding their care is described.


The project provides an overview of the existing literature and investigations in the area of multiple disabilities combined with visual impairment in Switzerland, Germany and Austria.

In order to gain an insight into this area and to identify possible problems and gaps in the care provided, 4-5 exploratory interviews with specialists were carried out.

Written survey: a short questionnaire provides information about  how many persons with this disability live and learn in the institutions and what kind of care they receive in the area of visual impairment. The following institutions are

  • Special educational institutions with early promotion facilities
  • Special educational kindergartens
  • Special educational schools
  • Homes for mentally disabled adults (and old people)
  • Sheltered workshops for mentally disabled adults
  • Occupational places for mentally disabled adults
  • Departments for mentally disabled adults in psychiatric clinics.


For PDF-Documents in German see German homepage



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Forschung und Entwicklung
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