Supporting Students With Disabilities
 
Students Needs Evaluation and Referrals | Documenting A Disability, Health Problem, Learning Difficulty, or Psychological - Emotional Conditions | Student Responsibilities | Recommendations For Instructors | The Role Of The Faculty Member In Charge Of Support Of Students With Disabilities | Supportive Tutoring
 
 
 
The Social Support Office
 
Students with disabilities, health issues, or students facing social problems can visit the Social Support Office to discuss how these affect their studies, in complete confidentiality, as well as to seek ways to handle these problems (e.g. by providing extra academic facilitation and adjustments).
The Social Support Office Aim

The main aim of the Office is to provide the best and most efficient support possible to students with disabilities and health issues, so that equal access to their academic obligations is guaranteed. This is achieved through decisions taken by appropriate University Committees which are based on a) “The Education and Training of Children with Special Needs Act of 1999”, b) The Regulations “Regarding the Education and Training of Children with Special Needs of 2001 and 2003”, c) The available funding for supportive measures, and d) The practices followed by other countries. The difficulties faced by students are dealt with in cooperation with the appropriate Committee for Student Welfare of the University, the Faculty Members responsible for students support of each Department, the student’s professors, the administrative staff of the University, and other governmental services and organizations. Special care is given in improving the accessibility of the University’s facilities for all students.
 
Financial Support for Students
 
Students facing financial difficulties may seek guidelines from the Social Support Office. Every year a number of students receive financial support from the University of Cyprus Students Welfare Fund as well, from other external funds, following a referral from the Student Welfare Association.
 
Students may apply for financial support from the “Student Welfare Association”, through the Social Support Office. Applications are submitted every October, following an announcement posted on bulletin boards and online of the Academic Affairs and Student Welfare Service website.
 
Other state-run Financial Support Options:
 
 
Cyprus State Scholarships Institute: www.cyscholarships.gov.cy
Ministry of Education and Culture – You can find all information regarding the State Student Welfare package (Student Grant, and Student Subsidies) here.
 
Social Support Office Officer Secretaria
 
Christina Matsouka-Andreou
Tel.: 22894052
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
 
Andia Rousou
Tel.: 22894051
email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
 
Artemis Charalambous
Tel.: 22894047
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
 
 
Useful Links
 
ASSOCIATIONS CONTACT DETAILS

Cyprus Confederation of People with Disabilities Organisations (KYSOA) Web: www.kysoa.org.cy
Tel.: 22318465, 22311602

Pancyprian Organisation for The Blind (POT) Tel.: 22 813382

Cyprus Paraplegics Organisation (OPAK) Tel.: 22 496494

School for The Deaf Ηλ. Διεύθ.: http://eid-scholi-kofon-lef.schools.ac.cy
Τηλ.: 22305422, 22305425

Cyprus Federation for The Deaf (OKK) Τηλ.: 22 464196

Pancyprian Association of Multiple Sclerosis Patients Web.: http://www.mscyprus.org.cy
Tel.: 22590949, 25573661

Social Inclusion for People with Disabilities Department  (Ministry of Labour and Social Insurance) Web: www.mlsi.gov.cy/dsid
Tel.: 22815015
  
 
 
 
 
 
 
Supporting Students with Disabilities
 
Students with Disabilities and Health Problems Support Procedure
 
Declaration of difficulties,
Students with disabilities and health problems should contact the Officer in charge of Social Support Office to declare the difficulties they face, or fill in and send the “Difficulties Declaration Form” [link].
 A considerable percentage of the affected students are identified through various procedures, such as:
the Student Admission with Special Criteria procedure
when students declare their difficulties by completing the university inscription form
when referred by their professors
when referred by external institutions and associations
 
STUDENTS’ NEEDS EVALUATION AND REFERRALS  

When an affected student is identified, a personal meeting is held with the officer in charge of the Social Support Office. During the meeting, the difficulties and potentially required facilitations will be discussed and recorded. The student must provide all medical documents, evaluations, and doctor’s recommendations he possess, in accordance with the “Disability Documentation Form” [link], as well as any recommendations for facilitations from the District Committee for Special Education of the Ministry of Education and Culture, or from the equivalent body in the student’s country of origin.


The Officer in charge of the Social Support Office completes the dedicated form with the student’s personal details and academic support needs.
 
The Student Welfare Committee (SWC) evaluates the student’s needs, taking into consideration the relevant legislation and international practices.
 
 The student is informed about the SWC decision and the kind of assistance that the University can provide him with. Academic Facilitations to Students Form [link]
 
When the student’s written consent is acquired his professors, the faculty member responsible for student support, and the president of the department are notified in writing. Data Processing Explanation and Consent Form [link]

Academic facilitations remain in effect until the next re-evaluation of the student’s needs, unless their health condition changes before that, or if the facilitations where only offered for a specific time span. The re-evaluation of students facing psychological-emotional conditions or learning difficulties will be determined by Mental Health Centre of the University of Cyprus.


 Students facing psychological-emotional conditions or learning difficulties and need support or want to let their professors know, are referred or welcome to visit on their own the Mental Health Centre (MHC) of the university (email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., tel.:  228892136) for evaluation of their needs. They should bring any past diagnoses, evaluations, and medical documents, if  exist.  After the evaluation of student needs by MHC, a meeting with the Officer in charge of the Social Support Office will be arranged, and the same procedure as for students with disabilities or health problems will be followed.


If necessary, explanations will be provided to the professors and faculty responsible for supporting the student, both regarding the nature of the required facilitations and the ways to handle the difficulties faced by the student.


The student and if necessary, also the professors, are informed about the total number of hours that have been allocated for extra tutorials or other means of supports provided and about the compensation that the student providing the support will be entitled to.


The nurses of the University of Cyprus are informed about all students with disabilities or health problems (but not for those students with psychological-emotional conditions and learning difficulties).
 
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DOCUMENTING A DISABILITY, HEALTH PROBLEM, LEARNING DIFFICULTY, OR PSYCHOLOGICAL-EMOTIONAL CONDITIONS
 
1. VISUAL DISABILITY:
 
You must present recent certificates from a specialised ophthalmologist who is recognised by the Medical Council and is a member of the Cyprus Doctors Registry or the equivalent body of your country of origin: 
Visual acuity measurement
Medical report which indicates visual acuity and diagnosis, date of diagnosis, treatment administered (if any), probable prognosis, how it affects the person, and suggestions.
 
2. HEARING DISABILITY:
 
You must present certificates from a specialised ENT doctor who is recognised by the Medical Council and is a member of the Cyprus Doctors Registry or the equivalent body of your country of origin: 
Audiogram
Medical report which indicates when the hearing loss was manifested, the diagnosis, date of diagnosis, treatment administered (if any), probable prognosis, how it affects the person, and suggestions.
 
3. MOBILITY DISABILITIES:
 
You must present certificates from a specialised doctor who is recognised by the Medical Council and is a member of the Cyprus Doctors Registry or the equivalent body of your country of origin: 
 
Diagnosis and medical reports for the examinations conducted as part of the diagnosis (e.g. X-Rays, ultrasound, MRI, blood tests, etc)
Medication details (if any)
Medical report which indicates the diagnosis, date of diagnosis, treatment administered (if any), probable prognosis, how it affects the person, and suggestions.
 
4. SERIOUS HEALTH PROBLEMS (e.g. cancer, diabetes, epilepsy, heart disease)
 
You must present certificates from a specialised doctor who is recognised by the Medical Council and is a member of the Cyprus Doctors Registry or the equivalent body of your country of origin: 
 
Diagnosis and medical reports for the examinations conducted as part of the diagnosis (e.g. X-Rays, ultrasound, MRI, blood tests, EEG etc)
Medication details (if any)
Medical report which indicates the diagnosis, date of diagnosis, treatment administered (if any), probable prognosis, how it affects the person, and suggestions.
Description of measures and actions that should be taken in case of a medical emergency.
 
 
 
 
 
5. PSYCHOLOGICAL-EMOTIONAL CONDITIONS:
 
You must consult or be referred to the Mental Health Centre of the University of Cyprus, providing any previous medical reports and diagnoses (if any).
 
6.  LEARNING DIFFICULTIES (e.g. DYSLEXIA) & ADHD (attention deficit):
 
You must consult or be referred to the Mental Health Centre of the University of Cyprus, providing any previous medical reports and diagnoses (if any).
 
SOCIAL DIFFICULTIES/PROBLEMS
 
If a student faces social difficulties/problems, he/she must present official certificates proving those problems (e.g. Death Certificate of a family member, report prepared by an Office of the Social Services Department, etc)
 
STUDENT RESPONSIBILITIES
 
When the student completes his university inscription, he must contact the Social Support Office to arrange a personal meeting to receive information and fill in the relevant forms (consent form, personal details, facilitations request).
During the teaching period, the student must arrive at the lecture hall earlier, to secure a better spot if that is necessary.
A student requiring a chaperon or a person to assist with note-taking must secure a seating spot for both during the lecture.
If a student needs special equipment, he must arrive at the lecture hall earlier for the required setup to be completed before the lecture begins.
The student is required to introduce himself to his professor and the faculty in charge of student support of his department, at the beginning of each semester, bringing with him the confidential memo provided by the Social Support Office (which the professors also receive).
It is important for the student to inform his professors about the approved facilitations  he will be needing for each specific course.
In no case, is the student allowed to wait until the exams period, to inform his professors about the facilitations he needs. The professors should be informed ahead of time, to allow for time to arrange for the faccilitations.
Any problems that arise regarding access to the approved support must be reported to the Social Support Office and the faculty member in charge of student support, as soon as possible.
The student must promptly inform the Social Support Office for any tutoring or other support he requires, so that this can be arranged. The Social Support Office and the faculty member in charge of student support will recruit students or alumni that can provide tutoring support. The student is also allowed to recommend a student or alumni he wishes to receive support from.
 
SUPPORT FOR STUDENTS WITH DISABILITIES OR HEALTH PROBLEMS DURING TEACHING
 
RECOMMENDATIONS FOR INSTRUCTORS
 
1. Students with learning difficulties / dyslexia
 
Learning difficulties is a general term encompassing a diverse group of disorders which manifest as remarkable difficulties in acquiring and utilising listening, speaking, reading, writing, concentration, or numerical skills. Those disorders are genetic and attributed to malfunctioning of the central nervous system (National Joint Committee on Learning Disabilities, 1990).  People with learning difficulties usually dedicate more time to study because they may suffer for constrained memory resources and therefore be unable to remember information, face difficulties in organising their study session, read with difficulty and/or have trouble with writing.
 
Dyslexia belongs to this group of learning difficulties, but it only concerns difficulties faced when it comes to writing and reading. As a consequence, dyslexic people might find it difficult to read a text with a good flow and while maintaining an appropriate register etc, but also have hard time understanding it. Their written output might also appear poor or problematic (e.g. poor expression, lack of punctuation, unreasonably high number of spelling mistakes). Regardless, if asked to orally respond to the same topic, they are likely to perform much better.  
 
People with learning disabilities or dyslexia, as adults, use supportive technology to aid them perform at their full capacity (e.g. it is better for them to listen to a text instead of repeat-reading it multiple times, they feel safer using a computer with spell-checking turned on to write, etc). Their learning is aided a lot if alongside the text there’s also audio-visual components, diagrams and bullet-point outlines.
 
Recommendations to instructors
 
Make lecture notes and presentations available beforehand
Include audio-visual content in the lectures and presentations you prepare. This helps the entire lecture audience, not just students with learning difficulties.
When a written task is to be completed in class, it’s best that you explain the instructions step by step, if the student with learning difficulties finds that useful.
 
2. Students with Hearing Impairments
 
Students with hearing impairments may have a different levels of hearing ability, and use various different ways to communicate. Consequently, students should be consulted to establish which methods are preferred, to ensure better communication.
 
Some people have reduced hearing levels and are called Hard-of-Hearing, and some people do not have any hearing at all, and are called Deaf. Deaf people may be pre-linguistically deaf (i.e., they have lost their hearing before acquiring a spoken language) or post-lingual deaf (i.e., they have lost their hearing after having been exposed to a spoken language and they used that for communication in the past). These two types of Deaf individuals may use different ways of communication now. .
 
People with hearing impairments understand spoken language through interpretation into a sign language and/or by lip-reading. Lip-reading individuals underwent a lot of practice to achieve it, and their success rate varies from person to person. Lip-reading requires concentration and can be particularly difficult if the speaker speaks very fast or moves constantly around the room. People who communicate in a sign language may be accompanied by an interpreter. In this case, the interpreter is tasked with translating the instructor’s words into sign language.
 
Recommendations to instructors
 
The instructors must stand opposite the student with hearing impairments when they speak, and take care to avoid standing in front of a bright window, not to talk too fast or too slow, not to cover their mouth or chew anything while talking.

The instructors must make sure to project the lecture’s main points on the projector screen, or to write them down on the board or overhead slides.

If during a lecture a new term is introduced, it’s advisable to write it on the board or project it on-screen. When students write down new terms or lecture points, the instructors should avoid talking.

If the number of students and the layout of the classroom allow it, it’s best that students sit in a semi-circular or U-shaped layout, so that the student with hearing impairments can maintain eye contact with all members of the student team. When sitting in that layout, the instructor can use the projector to record keywords summarising the in-class discussions. Those slides can be given to the student at the end of the lecture. It’s important to signal change in topic of discussion in-class with some sort of keyword. 

When an in-class assignment is handed out, provide time for the student to read the text and questions before giving instructions.

When an in-class depends on listening (e.g. playing a song from a CD, watching a documentary), the transcript must be provided in writing.

When one is using hearing-aids, it’s necessary to limit noise in the classroom. When noise is present, the hearing-aids amplify the noise and the student will not be able to follow the lecture. The instructors will be notified in case they need to wear a dedicated microphone.
If a sign language interpreter is accompanying the student with hearing impairments, the instructor must speak at a steady pace, and they should not direct their speech to the interpreter, but to the student directly.

3. Students with visual impairments
 
People with visual impairments may be partially-sighted (i.e., they can see up to a certain point), or Blind (i.e. they cannot see at all). Some people are born with a visual impairment and others acquire it later in life. It can be a permanent or temporary condition.
People with visual impairments access written works using the Braille script and/or by using text-to-speech software, which reads aloud text shown on the computer using a synthesised voice. They may also use other equipment (e.g. screen-magnifying equipment), which instructors should be familiarised with.
 
Recommendations to instructors
 
The instructors make sure to provide all material relating to the lecture in a format that will best serve the student. More specifically, if the student uses speech synthesis or Braille, the material should be provided in a digital format which will allow computer software to render text into voice or to print it in Braille. If the student can read text when converted to uppercase, the Library services will convert the lecture material into the format desired by the student.
In case the instructor wants to give the class a text or worksheet that was not made available before the lecture, either to the student or to the Library services, then the instructor is responsible to print it in upper-case script, with a font-size and typeface that suits the student’s needs (this information is listed in the letter the Social Support Office sends to the instructors at the beginning of each academic semester).
If during the course of a lecture a video or film is shown, then the student will need a personal by their side to provide audio description of the actions depicted that they cannot see. This person can be the instructor, or the chaperon if one is present.
If the student requires help to move around, one should place their left or right hand on the student’s arm, walk alongside them, and advise them when they need to move left or right. One should always ask the student before they offer such assistance.

 
THE ROLE OF THE FACULTY MEMBER IN CHARGE OF SUPPORT OF STUDENTS WITH DISABILITIES
 
Ι. INTRODUCTION
 
Within our push to provide the most comprehensive and multifaceted support to students with special needs, the University of Cyprus has formally established the Institution of the Faculty Member in charge of Student Support since September 14, 2009. (Decision of the Student Life and Student Affairs Committee).
 
 
Each Department has its own Faculty Member in charge of Student Support, which is appointed by the Board of each Department.
Faculty Members in charge of Student Support work closely with the Academic Affairs and Student Welfare Service (Social Support Office) which is responsible for supporting students with disabilities at the University of Cyprus through the adoption of a series of academic and other support measures, with the approval of the Student Welfare Committee, with the aim of enhancing  the personal and academic welfare of the students, including the provision of specialised services and/or specialised equipment, in cooperation with various departments of the University of Cyprus (e.g. the Library, or the Technical Services).
At the beginning of each academic semester, the AASW Social Support Office, having secured the consent of the affected student, notifies the student’s instructors, the Faculty Member in charge of Student Support, and the President of the Department about the presence of students with disabilities in certain courses. In addition, they receive written explanations by the Social Support Office about possible academic accommodations which students require based on their needs, as well as information regarding the various supportive measures offered by University of Cyprus services.
 
ΙΙ. THE ROLE OF FACULTY MEMBER IN CHARGE OF STUDENT SUPPORT
 
1. To collaborate with the instructors of students with disabilities in order to deal the problems they face and the academic support that should be provided in each case.
2. To keep scheduled office hours for meetings for students with disabilities in their department who need to consult with them.
3. To make sure, throughout the academic year, that the necessary academic support to students of their department by the instructors are provided, through regular co-operation and communication with both the professors and the students themselves.
4. To collaborate with the Social Support Office and academics to find students to provide extra tutoring services and other assistance to students with disabilities, as part of the support measures implemented by the University of Cyprus.
5. To cooperate with the Social Support Office for any clarifications and/or problem resolution regarding the application of the academic support measures that each student is entitled to.
6. To participates in seminars and educational programs on the topic of providing support for students with disabilities.
SUPPORTIVE TUTORING
Instructions to students supported and people providing support to students with disabilities and health problems:
 
1. The Social Support Office must be directly informed by students who require extra tutoring, to initiate the process of finding a student/alumnus to provide academic support.
 
2.The form is completed by the student who receives supports and is signed by both the student receiving support and the person providing the support, and it is submitted to the Social Support Office according to the timetable announced by the Social Support Office.
 
3. The "Assistance Record for People with Disabilities and Health Problems" form should indicate the total support hours provided each month, with the corresponding fees, which should not exceed the total amount of the allocated support grant for this semester.
 
3.1. If the cost of the support exceeds the amount allocated for this semester, then the student who is supported is responsible for paying the extra amount to the student/alumnus who provides the support.
 
3.2. In case the support cost of any semester is lower than the student is entitled to for this semester, then the balance cannot be used for the next semester.