Dyslexia is the most common learning difficulty, and 6% of Finnish higher education students have been diagnosed with it (FSHS, KOTT, 2021).Dyslexia is defined as an impairment involving both reading and writing. A key characteristic in dyslexia is difficulty identifying and processing connections in phonologic (i.e. sound-related) information.
Individual study arrangements at the Open University
Open University students are entitled to receive reasonable, individual study arrangements.Such students are required to demonstrate the same level of knowledge and skills as other students. The right to the individual arrangements are based on the Non-Discrimination Act (1325/2014) and section 24 of the Aalto University General Regulations on Teaching and Studying.
A student may bring up their need for individual study arrangements at any time during their studies.
Granting individual study arrangements
Instructions to students
If you need individual study arrangements for your Open University studies, please proceed as follows:
- Contact the Open University office via email (at [email protected]) well in advance of the start of your course, e.g. immediately after registering for the course or, at the latest, 14 days before the start of the course or before the examination date.
- Deliver a certificate by a doctor, psychologist or other expert according to the instructions you receive from the Open University office; deliver by encrypted email, regular postal mail or by coming to the office in person.*
- We will go through with you what arrangements you need and for what time period. You will receive from the Open University a written recommendation on the agreed, individual study arrangements. The recommendations will be valid in all the Aalto schools for a set period of time. You will receive more specific instructions when the recommendation is sent to you.**
- Contact the course teacher, present the recommendation and agree about the arrangments when the course starts. If you need individual arrangements for exams, please inform the course teacher and Open University office ([email protected]) about it as soon as possible but no later than 2 weeks before the exam.
- Should problems arise, please contact the person who provided the recommendation. The recommendation provides the contact information.
*The Open University will destroy the certificate copy when the recommendation is ready.
**The Open University will retain the recommendation until the end of the term (autumn, spring, summer) that follows the expiration date of the recommendation.
Note: The student is obliged to report any change in their situation or condition that may affect the individual study arrangements.
Instructions to Open University teachers
Students may be granted individual study arrangements only after being granted the university’s recommendation verifying their right to the arrangements. Recommendations are granted to both Aalto University and Open University students who need them, and the recommendation is valid throughout Aalto University. Teachers shall take such recommendations into account in their teaching.
The right to reasonable, individual study arrangements is granted by the Open University. The student must verify his or her need for individual study arrangements by presenting a statement by a doctor or other relevant professional. Recommendation for individual study arrangements are valid for a set period of time.
The recommendations state the arrangements agreed upon, but they include no health data health as defined in the EU General Data Protection Regulation. Details of the student’s health status are disclosed only to the person granting the right to individual study arrangements. The contact information of the person granting the right to the arrangements are included in the recommendation.
Students who contact teachers directly about the arrangements should be referred to the Open University office. Students will receive more detailed, practical instructions about the arrangements when the recommendation is prepared. The teacher has the final say in judging how the arrangements may be carried out in a reasonable manner. If you have questions about individual study arrangements, please contact the Open University office at [email protected].
More information about individual study arrangements
Individual study arrangements are based on an assessment by a specialist. This means that you need a certificate from a doctor, psychologist or similar specialist explaining your need for individual study arrangements. If possible, the certificate should give concrete suggestions on the types of arrangements that would be useful to you.
Applications for arrangements due to dyslexia (e.g. additional time for an examination) must be supported by an assessment from a special education teacher, speech therapist, psychologist, or an appropriately qualified medical practitioner. If you had additional time or other individual study arrangements in the Finnish matriculation examination, you can also include the Matriculation Examination Board’s decision, provided it explains the individual arrangements made for you at the time.
The period of validity of the assessment documents is decided on a case-by-case basis depending on the degree of permanence of the disability, illness or learning difficulty. For dyslexia, the assessments must originate from when the applicant was 16 years of age or older. The assessment documents are not recorded in the university information systems, and details of the student’s health status are disclosed only to the person granting the right to individual study arrangements.
Under the Non-Discrimination Act (1325/2014) and the Aalto University General Regulations on Teaching and Studying (24 §), the university shall make due and appropriate adjustments to improve the student’s educational opportunities if the student, due a disability or other health condition, is unable to complete studies as provided in the curriculum or in the course.
The measures for making individual study arrangements are in practice flexible, individual solutions to course teaching, examinations and working methods. The teacher assesses and defines the specific implementation based on the intended learning outcomes of the course. Any accommodated modes of completion must allow the student to achieve the intended learning outcomes set for the degree and course.
Individual study arrangements are based on an assessment by a specialist.
They may include:
• getting additional time for examinations
• taking examinations in a private space
• using a computer for examinations
• in course activities involving performing, recommending that the student present their work to a smaller group or only to the teacher.
• providing any written material in a larger font.
The individual arrangements are agreed in more detail in a discussion held with the contact person of Aalto Open University.
The recommendation on individual study arrangements is given to the student after the discussion with the contact person of Aalto Open University.
The recommendation states the individual study arrangements agreed with the student and the period of validity of the recommendation. The recommendation does not include any health data as defined in the EU General Data Protection Regulation. The contact information of the person granting the right to the arrangements are included in the recommendation.
For the individual study arrangements to be taken into consideration on courses and in examinations, the student must present the recommendation on individual study arrangements to the teacher as early as possible, meaning when registering for a course or examination. This gives the teacher time to take such arrangements into consideration in the course implementation and discuss the needed arrangements with the student. Students will receive more detailed, practical instructions about the arrangements when the recommendation is prepared.
The Learning Centre offers accessible course books to Aalto students in collaboration with Celia, which is a national library of accessible literature. Accessible course books are offered to students with a print disability (a difficulty or inability to read printed material due to a perceptual, physical, or visual impairment). The service is intended for students enrolled as attending students.
For more information on accessible course books, please see:
Please contact [email protected] . Please include your student number and other relevant information related to your problem when you contact us. Depending on the situation such information might be course code or date of teaching implementation. This helps us to solve your problem faster.
If you have accessibility related challenges in using Sisu, please contact the Starting Point service desk. If you know that your issue is time consuming, we hope that you inform us by email [email protected] in advance when you will be visiting the Starting Point service desk.
Contact information and opening hours of Starting Point
Starting Point will do their best to help you with the use of Sisu.
If using Sisu is likely to cause you repeated problems throughout your studies, get in touch with the contact person for individual study arrangements at [email protected] . You can discuss your needs for support for using Sisu – and other matters related to studying – with the contact person of Open University. Help for facilitated use of Sisu is arranged between you, the contact person for individual study arrangements, and the Starting Point.
Please find more information about different support services from the links below.
Assistive devices (Kela)Guide dogs and Service dogs (information mainly in Finnish):
Guide dogsService dogsErilaisten oppijoiden liitto (the national organisation for diverse learners in Finland, information only in Finnish)
Helsingin seudun erilaiset oppijat HERO (an association for diverse learners in the Helsinki area, link in Finnish only)
Rehabilitation foundation(Provides timely and customer-centred rehabilitative services to improve employment, study and functional capacity)
Services for disabled persons (general information about special services and links to service providers' pages)
Tukilinja (Finnish magazine focused on disability-issues. It awards grants and promotes non-discrimination and equal opportunities for people with disabilities and long-term impairments)
The right to individual study arrangements is secret information (Act on the Openness of Government Activities 621/1999, section 24, subsection 1, paragraph 25).
Secret information is information that may be disclosed only to those who have a justified need to access it. This means that a student’s right to individual study arrangements must be disclosed only to the course teacher and possibly to members of university staff involved in arranging or assessing the final examination.
Welcome to Aalto! Accessibility and diversity are the guiding principles of equality at Aalto University. Accessibility refers to convenience of use and access to education, research and related support services regardless of the diverse qualities of individuals.
Visual-perceptual difficulties refer to difficulties with processing or making sense of visual or spatial information in one’s mind and to create images that support action. In practice, students with visual-perceptual difficulties may find it hard to find their way in the studying environment and find teaching spaces or complete assignments that require them to identify or assemble objects or understand dimensions and patterns.
Attention deficit and hyperactivity challenges may present in tasks requiring concentration or independent study. When diagnosed, attention deficit and hyperactivity challenges are referred to as ADHD.
Autism spectrum disorder refers to a range of neurobiological developmental disorders that affect how an individual communicates and interacts with others, and they sense and experience the surrounding world. The condition is life-long, stemming from anomalous development of the central nervous system.
Mental disorders here refer to particularly to depression, but also to bipolar disorder. Of mental disorders, particularly depression is common with young adults. Students should listen to themselves and remember to reserve sufficient time for recovering from the strain of studies.
Anxiety means a state where a person feels tense, restless and worried. Short-term anxiety and nervousness or stage fright are very common and natural phenomena among students.
A panic disorder refers to recurrent panic attacks, meaning sudden, very strong experiences of anxiety. Panic attacks may be isolated events or related to general anxiety. Panic attacks are rather common: about 10 to 15 per cent of people experience one in their lifetime.