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
Examples of individual study arrangements include additional time for examinations (1 hour at Aalto), a private space or computer for examinations, or adjusted schedules.
Applying for individual study arrangements
Instructions to students
If you need individual study arrangements, proceed as follows:
- Contact the person responsible for individual study arrangements at learning services for your programme or at your school and arrange a meeting.
- Bring to the meeting a statement of your condition signed by a doctor, psychologist or other expert.
- The meeting will consider what arrangements you need and for which period of time. The arrangements granted will be recorded in a certificate for individual study arrangements, which will be valid in all the Aalto schools.
- In order to get individual study arrangements you need to show the certificate for individual study arrangements to your teachers and examination organisers and agree with them on the arrangements needed. You should contact the teacher about your needs as soon as possible, either in the first meeting of a course or upon registering for the course examination at the latest.
- Should problems arise, contact the person who provided the recommendation.
Further information 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 meeting held with the school contact person.
The recommendation on individual study arrangements is given to the student after the meeting with the school contact person.
The recommendation states the individual study arrangements agreed upon 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.
The recommendation is given to the student in three languages: Finnish, English and Swedish (Swedish excluded at the School of Business).
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, see here.
Erilaisten oppijoiden liitto (the national organisation for diverse learners in Finland, link in Finnish only)
Personal assistants (in Finnish only)
Services for disabled persons (general info and links to webpages)
Helsingin seudun erilaiset oppijat ry HERO (an association for diverse learners in the Helsinki area, link in Finnish only)
The Rehabilitation Foundation (provides timely and customer-centred rehabilitative services to improve employment, study and functional capacity)
Tukilinja (awards grants and promotes non-discrimination and equal opportunities for people with disabilities and long-term impairments)
Interpreter services (speech, speech-to-text, audio description and sign language)
Students going on an exchange programme may need my need barrier-free services due to a disability, illness or e.g. learning difficulty. The purpose of the individual arrangements is to help outgoing exchange students manage with everyday tasks related to e.g. housing, mobility, leisure-time activities, health, and well-being. The need as well as the kind of support needed vary according to the individual, as well as the solutions decided upon.
More information regarding accessible exchange studies can be found here.
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.
You can find the privacy notice for students regarding individual study arrangements at Aalto University below as pdf-file.
This toolkit will give you more information on the following:
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.
Do you want to develop yourself as a teacher? Start Aalto pedagogical training with A! Peda Intro and continue with other core courses, or check the available elective courses.
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.
Feedback, comments and questions on the individual study arrangements toolkit