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The Norwegian Federation of Organisations of Disabled People.
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Rudolph Brynn.
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This publication is dealing with the report of Norway on experiences of user participation in R&D oriented work.

Introduction

The situation concerning involvement of disabled people in production of AT, rehabilitation and user involvement in Norway was subject of a survey carried out by The Norwegian Federation of Organisations of Disabled People, FFO.

The survey has proven that many enterprises strive to ensure user participation in their product development work, but not following a systematic approach to such involvement. The principle of user participation is on average appected by Norwegian producers, but systematic plans for involving user from an early stage in the research and development are not yet available. The survey shows that both producers of assistive technology and consultant bodies for producers of AT strive to involve disabled users when specific technology is being developed for a certain group, for instance people with sensory disabilities. Some producers of assistive technology do not practice direct user involvement in evaluation or development of their products, but get infrequently responses from their distributors, who are in direct contact with users. Others get reports from service providers, like doctors, rehabilitation experts, etc.

The Norwegian government has through three planning periods produced Action Plans for Disabled People. The current Action Plan is spanning the period 1998 - 2000. These plans encompass the various ministries' activities and plans in the field of disability issues. Policy fields and initiatives are based on inputs from disabled peoples' organisations, according to the government. The organisations suggest areas that should be highlighted, ways of organising the activities and concrete projects. Not all of the proposed initiatives are followed up in the government's action plans. But meetings are held between the government and disabled peoples' organisations on an annual level. The organisations are involved in the implementation of governmental initiatives, and it is assumed that all projects under the auspices of the government shall involve user participation.
The Norwegian State Council on Disability, RfF, is the Government's council on issues of importance to disabled people's living conditions. The purpose of the council is to advise the public authorities on the creation and implementation of disability policy. The council's activities are based on the fundamental view that persons with disabilities are entitled to full participation and equality in society, satisfactory living conditions and a sense of belonging in the local environment. One of the main objectives for the interest organisations of disabled people in Norway is to increase user participation for disabled people in all aspects of society; on political, economic and social level.

PDF-Download of Norwegian Report (208KB).

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