The Israeli Institute on Cognitive Accessibility

 

Who hasn't tried to deal with a standard lease or credit card booking form and suddenly found he/she did not understand a thing? The frustration that accompanies this experience illustrates distress in the absence of clear and accessible information when needed. The environment in which we function includes physical and human elements like signage, organization of the space or room we are in, the form that we are required to fill out and the way the clerk explains the necessary steps in performing any process. All these are part of the environment in which we function. In an environment that is not accessible, many of us and especially persons with disabilities find it hard to function and even worse, may be frustrated. 

 

The Israeli Institute on Cognitive Accessibility was founded by Ono Academic College in collaboration with Ami association. The institute was established to provide professional services and comprehensive access to society for people with cognitive disabilities. We believe that providing access to information, procedures and services protects the right of people with cognitive disabilities by enabling them to fully participate in society.

 

The term "cognitive disability" refers to a variety of populations (people with developmental and intellectual disabilities, autism spectrum, brain injuries, dementia, learning disabilities as well as persons coping with mental health issues), that have challenges in various aspects of thought process and cognitive functioning (e.g. memory, abstraction, symbolization, processes involving quantitative ability, understanding instructions, problem solving, reading and writing ).

 

The main purpose of the Equal Rights for People with Disabilities Law, (1998) was to secure the rights of people with disabilities to full and equal participation in society. Following the accessibility amendment of 2005 several sets of regulations has already been legislated including the Service Accessibility Regulation of 2013. The regulation obligates some measures of cognitive accessibility accommodations such as language simplification of information and signage, as well as staff training of all service providers.

 

The Israeli institute on Cognitive Accessibility is devoted to the promotion of accessibility for people with cognitive disabilities both at a policy level and as a service provider. Our staff includes experienced professionals from different disciplines (occupational therapy, linguistics, graphic design, IT) which allows for a broad and interdisciplinary perspectives with regards to various issues in cognitive accessibility.

 

The Institute combines ongoing academic research, knowledge dissemination, and the development of practical tools and protocols, with carrying out projects such as plain language documents, staff training etc. In addition the Institute provides counseling, training and guidance to individuals as well as public and private organizations.

 

Among our clients are the Ministry of Social Affairs - Division for Persons with Developmental and Intellectual disabilities, the Commission on Equal Rights of Peoples with Disabilities, The Home Front Command, Municipalities, Access Israel, Israel Elwyn, and others.