Living in Finland

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Disabled persons

Finnish law states that a disabled person must not be discriminated against because of his or her disability. A disabled person has the right to live a normal life, for example, to study, work and start a family. Finland is also committed to the UN treaty on the rights of persons with disabilities.

A disabled person may have difficulties in managing matters of everyday life due to his or her ability or illness. Municipalities are required to offer services for disabled persons who need them. These services include, for example, transport and assistant services. If you have a residence permit and a municipality of residence in Finland, you are entitled to the disability services offered by your municipality. Read more on the services for disabled persons and how to apply for them on the Infopankki page Services for disabled persons.

Associations for the disabled

There are several organisations in Finland which strive to improve the status of the disabled in society. These organisations can provide you with advice and assistance on, for example, how to apply for services. They also often provide leisure time activities and peer support to persons of all ages. Contact information for these organisations is available on the National Council on Disability website.

Hilma, the Support Centre for Immigrant Persons with Disabilities, also operates in Finland. It provides service coordination and counselling for disabled immigrants and persons with chronic diseases.

linkkiThe National Council on Disability :
Contact information of associations for the disabledFinnish

linkkiHilma, the Support Centre for Disabled Immigrants:
Support and assistance for disabled immigrantsFinnish | Swedish | English | Russian | Somali | Persian | Arabic | Kurdish

Visually impaired persons

If you are blind or partially sighted, you are eligible for services for visually impaired persons. If you need aids and equipment (apuvälineet), visit your local health centre first for a medical examination. Once a doctor has assessed your visual impairment, you may be given aids and equipment to help you in your medical rehabilitation. Read more on the Infopankki page Services for disabled persons.

For example, if you need a special computer or household appliances due to your disability, you can get financial support for these from the social services office (sosiaalitoimisto) of your municipality of residence. However, this is discretionary support, in other words, it is not necessarily granted.

From the Celia library for the visually impaired (Näkövammaisten kirjasto Celia), you can borrow talking books, Braille books, e-books and relief pictures. The library also produces school books needed by visually impaired schoolchildren and students.

The Finnish Federation of the Visually Impaired (Näkövammaisten keskusliitto) is an organisation that strives to improve the status of the visually impaired in society. The Federation also provides a lot of useful information and services for visually impaired persons.

linkkiAviris:
Most common devices of the visually impairedFinnish

linkkiCelia:
Library for the visually impairedFinnish | Swedish | English

The hard of hearing

The hard of hearing (kuulovammainen) refers to deaf and hearing-impaired persons. Many use sign language to communicate with others. Finnish and Finland-Swedish sign languages are used in Finland. Hearing-impaired persons often use hearing aids as well.

If you need aids and equipment (apuvälineet), visit your local health centre first for a medical examination. Once a doctor has assessed your hearing defect, you may be given aids and equipment to help you in your medical rehabilitation.

You can get, for example, a fire alarm and a text telephone for the hearing impaired so that you can live at home more safely. You can apply for these aids and equipment from the social services office (sosiaalitoimisto) of your municipality of residence.

If you need interpreter services due to your hearing defect, you can receive them in order to manage in daily life, such as work, study and attending to matters. Interpreting may include, for example, sign language interpreting or print interpreting. Apply for the right to use interpretation services from Kela.

Read more on aids and equipment as well as interpretation services on the Infopankki page Services for disabled persons.

You can find Suvi, the dictionary of Finnish sign language, on the Internet.

The Finnish Federation of Hard of Hearing (Kuuloliitto) and the Finnish Association of the Deaf (Kuurojen liitto) are organisations that strive to improve the status of people who are hard of hearing in society. They also provide a lot of useful information and services for hard of hearing persons.

linkkiThe Federation of Hard of Hearing:
Hearing devicesFinnish

linkkiThe Federation of Hard of Hearing:
Hearing aidFinnish

linkkiThe Social Insurance Institution of Finland, Kela:
Interpreter services for the disabledFinnish | Swedish

linkkiSuvi.viittomat.net:
Online dictionary for Finnish sign languageFinnish

linkkiThe Federation of Hard of Hearing:
Information about the Federation of Hard of HearingFinnish

linkkiThe Finnish Association of the Deaf:
Information about the Association of the DeafFinnish | Swedish | English

linkkiFolk high school for the deaf:
Education for deaf immigrantsFinnish | Swedish | English

Physically disabled persons

Physically disabled persons (liikuntavammainen) cannot move independently or without aids and equipment. Physical disability may result from an illness, accident or genetic factors.

If you need aids and equipment (apuvälineet), visit your local health centre first for a medical examination. Once a doctor has assessed your physical disability, you may be given aids and equipment to help you in your medical rehabilitation.

If you need alteration work in your home or some disability equipment have to be installed there, your municipality of residence may reimburse you for them. For example, your home can be changed in such a way that it is possible to get about in a wheelchair. Fixed disability equipment include, for example, support handles, ramps and electric door openers. Read more on aids and equipment and alteration work on the Infopankki page Services for disabled persons.

linkkiFinnish Association of People with Physical Disabilities:
Support and activities for people with disabilitiesFinnish

Persons with mental disabilities

Mental disabilities (kehitysvamma) make learning and understanding new things difficult. Learning and remembering things is a great deal more difficult for a person with mental disabilities than for other people. Mental disabilities are often detected in childhood or adolescence.

Various types of special services are available to persons with mental disabilities. These include, for example, housing services, work activities and daytime activities. Read more on the services for mentally disabled persons on the Infopankki page Services for disabled persons.

There are also many organisations that offer information and support. More information is available, for example, on the websites of the Finnish Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (Kehitysvammaliitto) and Inclusion Finland KVTL (Kehitysvammaisten Tukiliitto).

linkkiVerneri.net:
Information for people with mental disabilitiesFinnish

linkkiThe Finnish Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (FAIDD):
Lobbying organisation for people with mental disabilitiesFinnish | English

linkkiLobbying organisation for people with mental disabilities:
Lobbying organisation for people with mental disabilitiesFinnish | Swedish | English