It is still needed, for several reasons. Visually impaired people are not empoyed to the same extent as persons without visual impairment. This certainly depends on many things, one of which has to do with attitudes. Employers often think that they are going to "help someone" if they bring in a person who has bad eyesight. But that's totally wrong. They should seek the right skills and broaden the group from which they choose candidates to also include visually impaired. This over-caring attitude is also found in municipalities, county councils, assistive technology centers and many other insitutions. The support functions risk becoming part of the problem. Society thinks that we make an effort when we pay subsidies, but that is the wrong starting point. It's about matching the right person to the right work. Therefore, at our foundation, we try to encourage people to help themselves instead.
We provide support for many different things, often to small business owners who need different types of equipment, such as a computer, a massage table, sales material or perhaps studies. For children and young people, we frequently support education and further personal development. A visually impaired person may find it more difficult to obtain summer jobs during his or her studies, for example. We also know that it’s important to train social skills, so we can support learning how to swim or an introduction to start playing chess. The motivation it gives to socialise in different groups and contexts can make it easier to get into mainstream working life. We have received several testimonies on how this type of activities can really affect the individual.
It’s probably a combination of many things, and also differs depending on the individual. The digital environment that exists in almost all professions these days can be a great help for the visually impaired, but often everything from recruitment tools to internal systems is completely inaccessible, which makes it difficult or impossible for the visually impaired to obtain and maintain work on the regular labor market. Sometimes it’s that the person lacks adequate training. It’s almost a requirement that you continue to educate yourself nowadays, which can be more difficult for a person who doesn’t see well. Especially if the visual impairment worsens with age. Lack of social skills that I mentioned before can be a problem for some individuals. Today, we also have a large proportion of visually impaired people with a mother tongue other than Swedish, where language skills and communication skills are important. The combination can make it even more difficult to get a job.