Individual arrangements – information for course examiners

This page contains information for you as a teacher on how to accommodate students that need individual arrangements.

Individual arrangements are different practical support measures to promote the accessibility in studies for students with special needs. On this page you find instructions on how you as a teacher need to accommodate students with needs for individual arrangements in your teaching. You can also familiarize yourself with the information for students about individual arrangements on this page.

If you have questions about individual arrangements or need advice on how to organize individual arrangements for students in your teaching, you can contact Hanken's contact persons for individual arrangements:

 

Individual arrangements are individual support measures intended to support learning and to promote student equality and accessibility in studies. Students who study following the degree requirements and persons applying to become students are entitled to apply for individual arrangements on the basis of a physical handicap, sensory disability, physical or mental illness or problem, a problem related to reading or writing, or another cognitive impairment.

Individual arrangements must be based on an identified need, which students verify with a statement by a professional. Students that have presented evidence of the need for individual arrangements have a right to reasonable arrangements. This right is based on the Non-discrimination Act (1325/2014, 15 §). The student is entitled to get reasonable individual arrangements based on their individual needs in situations where the teaching is not accessible for the student because of their impairment.

Individual arrangements are practical solutions, which do not compromise the objectives of a degree or the learning outcomes of individual courses but are intended to help the student to reach the goals. Examinations and other work are assessed with the same assessment criteria for all students, and any individual arrangements employed do not impact the assessment.

The goal is for the student to receive the individual arrangements that they need while ensuring that the objectives required for the degree as a whole are met. For example, it is not possible to complete an entire degree as distance learning, as that would not gain the required career and interaction skills. Similarly, it is not recommended for most of a degree to be completed orally even if the student has difficulty writing, because then they do not develop as a writer.

Reasonable individual arrangements are not merely the individual responsibility of the teacher, but rather a question of what kind of practical arrangements the degree program or the university can offer. If the arrangements take up a lot of your work time, discuss the question of resources and options with the degree program director. It is good to consider individual arrangements during curriculum development as well as for each course separately. Considering possible individual arrangements in advance can significantly reduce the burden on individual teachers. 

Students may need individual arrangements for a variety of reasons. Below some of the most common reasons for needing individual arrangements are described. Other reasons for the need for individual arrangements are also possible. However, individual arrangements must always be based on sufficient and documented reasons as well as a genuine need.

Dyslexia

Students with dyslexia may face many different types of challenges related to reading and writing. In Finnish or Swedish, the challenge is usually that the person reads slowly and/or they are prone to make mistakes when writing. Dyslexia tends to be more visible when using languages with a low letter-sound correspondence. In these cases, the person tends to make a lot of spelling mistakes, and pronouncing and writing unfamiliar words may be difficult for them. Therefore, dyslexia often shows as difficulties when writing foreign languages, such as English.

Some find it more difficult to remember new concepts and they may need more repetition to help with remembering. People with dyslexia may also have a narrow working memory, making it difficult to remember long instructions or follow a lecture while simultaneously taking notes.

Nervousness

Teamwork, discussions, and especially speaking in front of other people make many students nervous. Feeling nervous or anxious is a problem if it prevents the student from participating in courses or causes them to drop out of a course.

Students will usually benefit from practicing their social skills, but sometimes the requirements and methods of completing a course can prove to be too much of a burden for a student. Requirements that are too high will not support the student’s development; instead, they will cause feelings of failure and may result in the student avoiding social situations.

Attention problems (ADHD)

ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) is a developmental disorder that reduces one’s ability to function. It involves difficulties concerning attention and cognitive control. These difficulties may affect several areas of life, including studying. ADHD takes on many forms, and each student’s situation is unique.

The symptoms of ADHD are often stronger if the environment contains a lot of distractive stimuli, the instructions are unclear, or the person is required to work on a task for a long period of time. When working independently, the student may have difficulties with creating a study plan and following it, assessing how much time it takes to complete the tasks, completing tasks that require concentration or perseverance, or getting lost in the tasks that interest them.

In addition to challenges, ADHD comes with strengths. For example, the student may be very creative, innovative, energetic, and unafraid of new challenges.

Mental health problems

Mental health problems, such as depression or anxiety (e.g., panic disorder, social anxiety) may involve a need for individual arrangements. As a teacher, you might meet both students with only temporary symptoms and those with a long-term mental disorder.

Nearly everybody suffers from mental symptoms at some point in their life. Factors such as prolonged stress or sleep disorders may temporarily reduce your ability to function.  Many psychological symptoms are temporary. Some stages of life will burden your mental health more than others, and it is perfectly normal to feel temporarily anxious in a difficult situation.

One in five male students and more than one third of all female students suffer from mental health problems. They show long-term psychological symptoms with serious negative effects on their life and ability to function, normally also including their studies. Identifying the problems early on and finding suitable help is essential. Recovery is often a long process.  However, living with mental illness can be as diverse and meaningful as any other life.

The autism spectrum

The autism spectrum refers to people with a neurobiological development disorder. The disorder affects how people communicate, how they sense and experience the surrounding world, and how they interact with others.

Both the symptoms and the limitations posed by the disorder are highly individual. The student may have trouble with starting and completing tasks or controlling their own activities, or they may be slow at processing things, have sensory defensiveness, fluctuations of attention, or problems with controlling their emotions. Teamwork may be difficult for them.

On the other hand, the student may be good at noticing details and concentrating on things that they are particularly interested in. They might also have a good sense of justice.

Physical impairment

Examples of physical impairment that may give rise to the need for individual arrangements include visual impairment, hearing impairment, or other physical injuries that affect the student's studies.

Individual arrangements can be granted for different teaching situations, such as assignments, group work and oral presentations. Individual arrangements may also be needed during examinations. Individual arrangements for examination can be granted for centrally organized on-site exams, exams in class, exams in Examinarium, and online exams, such as exams in Moodle. Individual arrangements also include accessibility of course literature and the premises.

Below is a summary of the individual arrangements that Hanken can grant students with the right to individual arrangements. Other individual arrangements are also possible if needed. Individual arrangements are always granted based on the student's individual needs.

Situation Individual arrangements

Examination

  • Additional time for completing examination
  • A smaller or separate examination room
  • Using a computer in examination situations
  • Alternative examination methods, such as e-exam, at home exam or oral examination
  • Material split into several exams (e.g. one book/exam)
Teaching in class
  • Use of personal assistant or interpreter
Assignments
  • Additional time for handing in assignments
Group work
  • Possibility to work alone
  • Group division organized by the teacher
Oral presentations
  • Presentation for a small group or only the teacher
  • Video recording that is shown to the other students or only to the teacher
Accessibility of course literature
  • Course literature as talking books
  • Extended loan period
Accessibility of premises
  • Seating in classroom that meets the student's needs