The social Support Office provides services to students with special needs in terms of, social, academic, financial and other requirements.
 
Support to students with special needs
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 docto 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.
 
TIMES AND FEES FOR STUDENTS PROVIDING SUPPORT [link]
 
 
Guidance on available financial aid to students
The social Support Office informs students about financial aid options. Students with serious financial problems may be subsidised by the students Welfare Fund, on condition that they meet certain criteria.
 
Students may apply for financial aid during the second half of September each year. The exact period for application, is announced on the students announcements boards and on the website of Academic Affairs and Student Welfare Service.
 
Part - time employment for Students
The social Support Office, offers part-time employment to students who are interested in providing support to students with special needs.
All students who are interested may contact the secretary of the Social Support Office Mrs Andia Rousou at telephone number 22894051.
The rate of payment to students depends on the level of their studies (e.g. undergraduate or postgraduate studies) and the kind of assistance that is provided.
 
Co–operation with Academic Staff responsible for students with special needs
Every department nominates its Academic personnel, who are close co-operation with the Social Support Office, in an attempt to give the greatest possible support to students in real need.
 
Admission of Students Based on Special Criteria
Every year a number of students are admitted by the University of Cyprus based on Special Criteria. Some of the special criteria that must be met are as follow:
  • The Candidate must have taken the National exams organised yearly for this purpose by the Ministry of Education and Culture.
  • The candidate must have obtained at least 90% of the mark archived by the last candidate, who has succeeded in obtaining a place at the particular program of studies.
  • The candidate must have taken all the relevant subject exams required for the particular program of studies
Some categories which come under the special needs criteria are:
  • Students with serious social and financial problems
  • Top athletes
  • Students age 30 and over
  • Students from certain religion groups, etc.
For more information please visit the website of Academic Affairs and Students Welfare Service.
 
 
 
Students who wish to discuss their special needs (social, financial, academic, health etc) may arrange for a personal meeting with Mrs Christina Matsouka - Andreou, head of Social Support Office at telephone number 22894052.