Counselling for students with special needs
Tallinn University supports students with special needs upon admission to the university and during the duration of their studies. University can make adjustments in courses, offering everyone equal opportunities to achieve maximum academic potential. We ask students with special needs to inform the Disability Counsellor regarding their needs as soon as possible. This is necessary so the university is able to make any necessary changes in time to allow the student to fully participate in their studies.
Tallinn University accessibility has been evaluated by EUni4ALL-NETWORK and is part of the Inclusive Mobility network. University has a Disability Counsellor, whose goal is to support students with special needs to ensure equal conditions in higher education with fellow students. They will help to arrange adjustments for participating in courses, adjusting the physical study environment and provide information about available scholarships and support services. Everything discussed with them is confidential, and the learner's autonomy is taken into account at every step. University defines students with special needs as learners who depending on their long-term health condition, may need to change the learning environment to ensure equal access to higher education based on the specifics of their needs. At Tallinn University, special needs can be proven with a disability certificate from the Social Insurance Board, with the Estonian Unemployment Insurance Fund's reduced working capacity certificate, a specialist doctor's certificate or with your host university disability assessment certificate.
Disability Counsellor can be contacted for the following topics:
- Support in getting adjusted in Estonia. Help with finding scholarships for students with special needs, applying for disabilities and/or reduced work capacity in the Estonian system and finding necessary services.
- Adjustments to entrance exams. Candidates can ask for adaptations in the entrance exams to take into account the obstacles arising from the specifics of special needs and the environment. For the adjustment, the disability certificate must be submitted to the special needs student counsellor until SAIS and Dream Apply applications can be submitted.
- Exemption from reimbursement study fines. Is not required from students with at least moderate disabilities or reduced work ability(certificates in the Estonian system) who are studying in the free Estonian language curriculum during the validity of the certificate. This also means an exemption from the reimbursement of study costs in an additional year or when falling into part-time studying.
- Reasonable adjustments in the duration of your studies. To put the adjustments in place, the special needs counsellor must be presented with a certificate of the basis of the special needs and recommendations to take into account. This will be evaluated with the counsellor to take into account as much as the Study Regulations and university resources allow. Faculty members have one month from being informed to implement the changes that are possible with still achieving all the course learning outcomes.
Support in higher education outside Tallinn University
Estonian Higher Education law does not regulate support or equal access to higher education for students with special needs. This means the university does not have its own designated support services. The services students need are provided by different government levels for people who have established their disability in the Estonian system.
- Rehabilitation services are through Estonian Unemployment Insurance Fund or Social Insurance Board.Services for people with disabilities or reduced working capacity to teach and develop everyday skills, enhance their opportunities to participate in society, support them in fulfilling the prerequisites to work or study. Read more about applying for the determination of the degree of disability or/and assessment of work ability
The Estonian Chamber of Disabled People is to improve the livelihood, the quality of life and the social inclusion of disabled people.
- Students who have a living registration in Tallinn and have a certain degree of disability severity can apply for services the city offers HERE
- The national scholarship for students with special needs depends on the type and severity of the student's disability and ranges from 60 to 510 euros per month. Read more here. You can apply beginning of autumn semester or spring semester. Apply here.
- To get technical aids read more HERE.
Disability Counsellor | Maarja Jõgioja
Book an appointment Monday and Tuesday on Google Meets, Wednesday and Thursday on campus S-103
Support at Tallinn University
Special needs or chronic illnesses that may affect academic success and the need to adapt to the physical environment at the university, it is necessary to inform the Disability Counsellor. Student medical condition is confidential, only with the consent of the student their obstacles in learning and recommended adjustments are shared with lecturers to improve the quality of learning.
Support at Tallinn Univesity during studies:
- Personal campus tour to familiarize yourself with the new learning environment and your own door card to navigate around the campus more easily.
- The university library's special services ordering books to the Learning Center on campus and digitising study materials.
- Support seminars and support groups to develop academic study skills and take care of your mental health.
- Student Support Centre you will find different specialists who help with study and career planning and maintaining mental balance.
- Peer Support students are specially trained students who support students during their studies. You can turn to them with both academic and personal concerns.
- Tallinn Univesity scholarship for students with a disability. Students who have a severe degree of disability can apply for the scholarship meant to ease the obstacles of studying in higher education. The maximum amount of the scholarship is 640 EUR.
International Club helps to offer international students a fun and enjoyable school life, help the newcomers, and introduce them to the Estonian culture.
Physical accessibility of campus
To get familiarised with our campus, it is recommended that you make an appointment with the Disability Counsellor for a personalised campus tour.
To see the accessibility of Tallinn take a look at Tallinn Accessibility Information System and check out how to get to campus HERE. Please familiarize yourself with the campus HERE and virtual tour HERE.
- Coming by tram to the "Tallinn University" stop, the tram stops in the middle of the road. The platform stop is the next stop "Koidula". Please be careful when crossing the crosswalk.
- If you come by car, there are two disabled parking spaces next to Mare building at Uus-Sadam 5.
You can access independently with a wheelchair:
Terra building (Narva Road 25) – First floor and through Astra building third floor disability lift the third and fourth floor (marked with the prefix ‘T’). The second floor is accessible by Terra/Vita connecting gallery through Vita building.
Astra building (Narva Road 29) – All floors (marked with the prefix ‘A’). The building has toilet facilities designed for people with special needs on the 0, second and third floors.
Silva building (Narva Road 29) – All floors (marked with the prefix ‘S’) are accessible through the Astra building. All floors are connected to Astra building. The second floor is accessible from the second floor of the Mare building through Silva/Mare gallery.
Mare building (Uus-Sadama Street 5) – All floors (marked with the prefix ‘M’). The building has toilet facilities designed for people with special needs on the first and second floors.
Nova building (Narva Road 27) – First floor through Vita building, in the building all floors (marked with the prefix ‘N’). From Mare building, second floors are connected with Mare/Nova gallery and a disability stairlift. The building has toilet facilities designed for people with special needs on the 0 floor.
Vita Building (Narva Road 27) - All floors (marked with the prefix 'V') are accessible. The building has toilet facilities designed for people with special needs on the 0 floor.
TU Academic Library (Rävala Avenue 10) and Study Centre (Astra building, second floor) – some of the reading halls are accessible by wheelchair. It is recommended to use the Study Centre. In the Study Centre to go to the third and fourth floor personalized door card is needed to use the lift.
Tallinn University student dormitory (17 Karu Street) provides accommodations specially designed for students with mobility impairment. The apartment consists of two single rooms and one double room. The double room is designed to accommodate an additional person who is accompanying a student with special needs. The apartment is located on the first floor - the entrance is located beside the parking spaces and opens with a magnetic card. The stairs are equipped with a platform lift.
It is not possible to access independently with a wheelchair:
Rooms A-046 and A-018 of the Astra building, computer class A-406 (a special solution is for the student to enter through the door on the side of the Study Center), Tallinn University Museum and room A-002 has access only upstairs by the door.
In Mare's building, there is no access to room M-134, the room goes straight down the slope and a wheelchair cannot fit there.
There is no access to the fifth floor of the Terra , and you can get through the Vita building on the second floor of Terra ONLY if the disabled lift in the building is in working order.
It is only possible to enter Nova building through Vita building. The wheelchair lift between Nova and Mare is not available for students using electric wheelchairs. The lift key can be obtained from the Nova and Mare information desk.
Haapsalu College is not accessible to wheelchair users.
Students can request a door card for access to all floors of the Study Center, the student recreation area, the Student Support Center and Vita building.
Reasonable adjustments during studies
Reasonable adjustments in higher education aim to remove barriers and get the same access to education as anyone else. Barriers can arise from the learning environment and their relationship with the specifics of disability. Adjustments can be assessed to a student who has proven special needs, whose special needs arise from a disability, learning difficulties or a chronic illness that creates obstacles in ensuring equal higher education.
When counselling students with special needs, with their consent the need for adaptations is assessed and recommended to the academic unit through ÕIS to the lecturers teaching the student. All set course
learning outcomes must be achieved by the learner. The lecturer decides how to take the learner's needs into account without compromising the quality of education.
Reasonable adjustments in Tallinn University Study Regulation:
- Use of an aid or support services in lectures
- Ensuring physically accessible learning spaces
- Sharing of lecture presentations (before class)
- Ensuring learning materials in a form accessible to the learner.
- Distributing worksheets to the learner digitally.
- It may be necessary for the student to record lectures, the need for which he informs the lecturer in advance and can make a copyright agreement to protect the intellectual property of the lecturer.
- Extension of deadlines, if the learner has notified the teacher in time before the original deadline has passed
- Flexible attendance when alternative assessment is pre-agreed with the lecturer to achieve the learning outcomes.
- Providing extra time for exams and tests to compensate for obstacles arising from special needs, allowing the learner to express the learned content on an equal basis with peers.
- Offering an alternative assessment that takes into account the specific needs of the learner when achieving learning outcomes.
1. Alternative assessment when performing group work. Lecturer to aid with task management in the group. Group to keep written memos of the meetings. To offer the possibility of independent work if the learning goal is not cooperative skills.
2. When giving presentations, start 1:1 with a lecturer or in a familiar group with less than 10 people.
3. Not taking typos typical of students with learning difficulties into account during flash assessment, if the goal is to understand the content of the subject and not grammar.
4. Keeping a course diary as an alternative assessment to dialogues.
Disability Counsellor mediates accessible study material services (digitalization of learning materials, options for providing subtitles, familiarization with learning platforms, using services in lecturers).
Adjustments in exam arrangements
- Permission to use specific aids for special needs during exams (computer, magnifying glass, inclusive software, FM system, laptop)
- Extension of time 15%-30% depending of the disability and exam type
- At least letter-sized 14 physical copies of the exam.
- Separate room for less than 10 people
Taking into account the specifics of the student's needs to provide an accessible learning environment
- Submit oral instructions in writing
- Provide syllabus of the course
- Clear structured expectations on how to successfully pass the course
- Giving the student a priority reading list of the course core material
- In the case of field trips, access must be agreed upon in advance with the student.
- In the lecture room, ensure that the student has the opportunity to choose a suitable sitting place
- When writing on the board, give the learner time and permission to take a picture of what is written.
- When giving a lecture, describe the visual elements of the presentation.
- To allow the learner to eat and drink during the lecture and assessments.
- Allow the student to move around during the lecture, take a break and leave earlier if necessary.
- Reduce background noise in the classroom by speaking clearly while facing the audience and closing the windows and doors
Going to study abroad with Erasmus +
Get inspired by other students’ stories about studying abroad. Discover the many benefits of going on exchange.
If you want to go on exchange studies read more about it HERE
Which university to choose?
Check out the support services and opportunities of various foreign universities HERE.
What are your support needs?
In addition to the usual Erasmus+ scholarship, students with special needs can also apply for an Erasmus+ grant for inclusion support, which covers the extra costs associated with your disability. Your sending institution can apply for this grant from its National Agency(In Estonia Harno), which in turn gets the money from the EU. More about accessibility in Erasmus + HERE.
Extra costs could be, for example, the following (list non-exhaustive):
- adapted accommodation
- travel assistance
- medical attendance
- supportive equipment
- adaption of learning material
- an accompanying person
- a sign language interpreter
Disability Counsellor will help you to get support at the foreign university and to apply for additional support.