The Kingdom's Vision 2030 entails enabling persons with disabilities to obtain appropriate job opportunities and an education that would ensure their independence and integration as effective members in society.
- Establishing the Authority for the Care of Persons with Disabilities pursuant to Council of Ministers Resolution no. (266), dated 27/05/1439H;
- The issuance of the Royal Order No. (35362), dated 22/6/1439H, corresponding to 30/07/2013, approving the guidelines for the Universal Access Program by adapting the urban environment in a way that enables persons with disabilities to live independently and integrate into society.
- It is noticed that the number of rehabilitation centers for persons with disabilities (comprehensive rehabilitation) has grown up to January 2019 to reach (38) government centers and (182) non-governmental day care centers.
- The Minister of Labor and Social Development issued decision No. (70273), dated 11/4/1440H, approving the Implementing Regulations of the Labor Law and its and appendixes, which included the schedule of arrangements, and facilitative services in the work environment for workers with permanent and temporary disabilities and workers with a disease that puts them in a disability position.
Article (27) of the Basic Law of Governance stipulates: "The State shall be responsible for the care of public health, and shall provide health care to every citizen and his family in case of emergency, illness, disability and old age and shall support the social security system and encourage institutions and individuals to participate in charitable work." As persons with disabilities are covered by this Article, the State has undertaken to protect and promote their rights, and has sought to achieve welfare and a decent living for them and for their families.
The Disability Law promulgated by Royal Decree No. (M/37) dated 23/9/1421H, corresponding to 19/12/2000, ensured the protection and promotion of the rights of persons with disabilities. In addition, in 2008, the Kingdom became a party to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and its Optional Protocol, one of the main UN human rights conventions. The competent agencies in the Kingdom endeavor to provide services for persons with disabilities in all fields to contribute to the development of their abilities and their normal integration in the various aspects of public life and reduce the negative effects of disability. Article (2) of the Disability Law entails that the State guarantees the rights of persons with disabilities to prevention, care and rehabilitation services, and encourages institutions and individuals to contribute to charitable work in the field of disability. This Article has also laid out the general framework for the entire services that must be provided by the State for this category, which include the following areas:
- Provision of medical, preventive and rehabilitation services, including preventive genetic counseling, various laboratory examinations and testing for the early detection of diseases and giving the necessary vaccinations;
- Registering children who are born more susceptible to disability, monitoring their conditions, and notifying competent agencies of such information;
- Promoting healthcare for persons with disabilities and taking the necessary measures to achieve that.
- Training healthcare workers and paramedics in the appropriate procedures for the safe handling of injured persons – on site – to prevent further complications during transit.
- Training the families of the persons with disabilities in handling and caring for them.
The Ministry of Health provides free health-care programs for persons with disabilities in government health institutions, as provided for in Paragraph (3) of Article (4) of the Health Law.
Universities are also involved as they provide high-quality health services through the establishment of teaching hospitals affiliated to medical colleges. The capacity of these hospitals in some universities exceeded (800) beds. Universities also set up research chairs for conducting disability research and social studies.
This includes the provision of educational services at all levels (pre-school, general education, vocational education and higher education) that are commensurate with the capabilities and needs of persons with disabilities, in addition to facilitating the procedures of enrollment, along with continuous evaluation of the curricula and services offered in this area. The most notable steps taken in this regard include the following:
- King Salman Center for Disability Research is considered as a pioneer in the field of scientific research on the issues, causes, prevention and treatment methods of disabilities. One of the objectives of the center is to improve the decision-making and planning process, particularly research priorities, use state-of-the-art technologies to improve understanding of the types of disability and diagnostic and therapeutic capabilities, and develop concrete areas for the treatment of persons with disabilities.
In the field of education:
- Opening a number of governmental institutes, based on the different disabilities (special education institutes, Al Noor Institute for the Blind, Al-Amal Institutes for the Deaf), including various educational stages (kindergarten, primary school, middle school, high school); these institutes have been equipped with special tools and hearing aids and with advanced training devices to facilitate the educational process.
- Admission of all male and female students with disabilities, who are able to learn at all the basic levels of education regardless of the types of their disabilities.
- Providing educational and rehabilitative services to groups that were not previously covered, such as: persons with learning difficulties, autistic persons, persons with multiple disabilities, people with language and speech disorders, and people with health and physical disabilities;
- Integration of students with disabilities in general education schools either partially in special classrooms, or fully in classrooms with other students, while providing them with supporting educational and rehabilitative services to ensure their ability to keep pace with their peers in various classes;
- Preparing schools to meet the basic needs of persons with disabilities, including making necessary adjustments, removing obstacles to their mobility within the school, and making use of all facilities and services;
- Providing prosthetic devices – such as audio-visual aids and wheelchairs –free of charge, in addition to braille and audio books, and educational supplies for the blind, such as the French cubes used in mathematics and others. Books included in general education curricula are also edited and customized for deaf students, and sign language is used to communicate with them.
- Preparing special procedural manuals for intellectually disabled persons.
- Recruiting specialized teachers with university degrees in special education according to the specialized tracks of each disability, or teachers with a high diploma in special education not less than one and a half years after obtaining the bachelor's degree. Upon their employment, these teachers will be given several training courses to improve their performance and abilities in dealing with students with disabilities. These teachers will have career benefits in order to encourage them to engage in this work and ensure good performance, in addition to providing opportunities for scholarship or full-time internships for distinguished national staff to continue their higher education in the various areas of special education.
- Providing special education services to students with special needs already enrolled in regular schools.
- Training non-specialized school personnel on how to deal with children with special needs.
- Setting residential housing programs to accommodate all students with disabilities living far away from schools with special education programs, as well as students who cannot be integrated into general education schools; these housing services include catering, clothing and a monthly allowance for each student, in addition to health services.
- Integrating students with disabilities into higher education institutions, and requiring these institutions to create conditioning and follow-up programs.
- Approving a plan to develop university curricula in special education specializations within a specified period of time, in line with the international development in this field, and expanding on opening scientific specializations in special education at the level of Bachelor and higher diploma degrees;
- Increasing financial allocations for scientific research, studies, book authorship and translation in the fields of special education and rehabilitation.
- Offering scholarships to several persons with disabilities within the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques external scholarship program, provided the Ministry of Education takes care of them and follows-up on their progress through cultural attaché offices in the country where they continue their study.
- Allocating grants for people with disabilities in non-governmental (private) universities and colleges.
- Establishing community service centers at universities to launch programs and courses for the different groups of society, including persons with disabilities, to disseminate knowledge and general culture on scientific bases
Training and Rehabilitation Fields:
These include the provision of training and rehabilitation services in accordance with the type and degree of disability and the requirements of the job market, including the provision of vocational and social rehabilitation centers and appropriate training facilities.
This includes employment in jobs that suit the abilities and qualifications of the disabled person to give him the opportunity to show his own abilities and enable him to earn income like other members of society, and seeking to raise his level of performance at work through training. The most notable steps in this regard are:
- The Ministry of Labor and Social Development launched the "Tawafuq" (compatibility) program which seeks to provide job opportunities for people with disabilities and a suitable working environment, as well as encourage private sector businesses to employ them by offering them relative advantages under the "Nitaqat" program, which aims at the Saudization of jobs in the private sector.
These include programs that contribute to the development of the capabilities of the disabled, to achieve their natural integration in various aspects of public life, and to reduce the negative effects of disability.
Cultural and Sports Fields:
It includes making use of and prepare cultural and sports activities and facilities, so that persons with disabilities can participate in their activities internally and externally, in line with their abilities. The General Sports Authority organizes a number of sports and youth activities directed to people with special needs, through the deaf clubs in Riyadh, Jeddah and Dammam, and special needs clubs (15 in number) located in various regions of the Kingdom, along with an annual subsidy of (500,000 riyals) for each club.
These include raising awareness through audiovisual and print media in the following areas:
- Defining disability, its types and causes, and how to detect and prevent it;
- Promoting the status of persons with disabilities in society and introduce their rights, needs, abilities, contributions, services available to them, and make them aware of their duties towards themselves and their contributions to society;
- Allocating programs for persons with disabilities to ensure their adaptation with society.
- Urging individuals and institutions to provide material and moral support to persons with disabilities and to encourage volunteering work for their service.
Complementary Services Fields:
- Developing public means of transport to provide safe transportation with low fares for persons with disabilities and their companions according to the conditions of disability;
• Providing day care and home-based care.
• Providing assistive technology devices.
Royal Order No. 7/H/1402H was issued on 21/1/1402H, corresponding to 19/11/1981, entailing the need to take into account the facilitation of necessary services for persons with disabilities. A booklet containing technical standards for municipal services related to persons with disabilities was prepared for consideration upon carrying out construction, design and restoration work, with a view to making it easy for persons with disabilities to move and use services in public facilities. To this end, conditions have been set for municipalities and rural communities upon issuing licenses for the construction of public and private buildings, aiming to make all facilities disabled-friendly. The services provided to persons with disabilities in the Kingdom include, among others, the following:
- Granting persons with disability fare reduction cards; this card allows a 50% fare reduction for disabled persons and their companions on various government means of transport (land, sea, and air);
- Providing prosthetic devices and audiovisual aids;
- Providing all types of care, including treatment and medication, free of charge;
- Establishing and supporting institutions and centers that provide care, rehabilitation and education programs for persons with disabilities;
- Disbursing subsidies to families caring for persons with disabilities.