Support for students with a disability

Students with a disability can get tailored support designed to help them study on the same terms as any other student. The idea is to eliminate obstacles that stand in the way of their studies. All employees of Umeå University are responsible for making our study environment more accessible to all.

The University is legally obligated to support students with a disability. This is a responsibility we all share as members of staff. Making lessons more accessible is something everyone benefits from.

Examples of disabilities

Dyslexia, ADHD, and impaired vision, hearing or mobility are just a few examples of disabilities. There are of course many more. We have listed a few, with a short description of each, on the page Examples of disabilities.

The Discrimination Act defines a disability as "a permanent physical, mental or intellectual limitation of a person's functional capacity that as a consequence of injury or illness existed at birth, has arisen since then or can be expected to arise."

The University's responsibilities

All public authorities must ensure their premises, activities and information are accessible to people with disabilities, as stipulated in the Ministry of Health and Social Affairs' Ordinance (2001:526) on the responsibility of public authorities to implement the Swedish Government's disability policy.

To ensure we are in compliance with the Discrimination Act and promote equal opportunities, we must prevent students with a disability from being disadvantaged during their studies. We can offer students individual support, for example, or adjust their study environment to compensate for the limitations their disability entails.

National and international laws regulate the rights of people with a disability (see more under the header Legal Framework).

Umeå University also has an official Procedures – support for students with disabilities, which describes:

  • what kind of support the University offers;
  • how students can get the support they need;
  • who is responsible for providing the different kinds of support; and
  • who must bear the cost for the different kinds of support.

Who does what?

Supporting students with a disability is all about planning out measures in advance and cooperating and sharing knowledge with each other.

For teachers

Course coordinators and the examiner together decide whether it is possible to adjust an exam for a student with a disability and, if it turns out to be possible, what adjustments to make.

As a teacher, you can support students with a disability by implementing various pedagogical strategies – which have the added benefit of making your classes more accessible for all students! From the moment you start planning your classes, you can save time and reduce the risk of your lessons being inaccessible to some by keeping in mind the fact that some of your students might have a disability.

The Centre for Educational Development offers workshops and provides advice on accessible teaching to the University's departments.

Contact persons at a department or for a specific programme

As a contact person for a programme, you assist students with disability-related matters during the entire period they are enrolled in the programme.

As a contact person at a department, you provide the same kind of support, but for freestanding courses. You will also be the person a programme's contact person will refer programme students to when they plan on taking a course at your department.

For more information, for example about the University's network for contact persons or how to let the Student Services Office know there is a new contact person, head to Contact persons at different departments and for specific programmes.

Student disability coordinators

There are three coordinators at the Student Services Office whose job it is to coordinate individual support for students with a disability.

Who does what − step by step

The page Support measures introduces the most common support measures for students with a disability and lists who is involved in making sure the student gets access to support.

Head to Support measures

Need help or more information?

Feel free to contact the Student Services Office's disability coordinators if you need support or more information.

Maybe you...

  • need some suggestions on how to adjust the study situation of one of your students?
  • wonder how to implement a support measure your student is entitled to or was recommended?
  • need help interpreting the regulations that apply to students with a disability?
  • would like us to tell you and your colleagues about the challenges students with a disability can face, how they can apply for support, and what happens when their application is approved (e.g. who would then be responsible for implementing and funding the support measures)?
  • would like us to give a presentation for your students about what the Student Services Office can do for them, especially if they happen to have a disability?
Richard Hartvik