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Special Educational Needs

Preface


According to the ‘Education and Training of Children with Disabilities Cyprus Law’ of 1999, and amendments of 2001, 2014, and 2020, and according to Article 9 and Article 24 of the ‘UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and Optional Protocol’, every person should have access to ‘Reasonable Accommodation’ in education.


More specifically:

  • all children and young adults with disabilities have the right to education as every child and young adult has; and
  • all children and young adults with disabilities must be provided with all opportunities for equal education; and
  • a restrictive environment should be avoided so to integrate all into the unified body of education, and
  • persons with disabilities must be enabled to participate effectively in a free society, and
  • the equal enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms by all persons with disabilities is promoted, protected and ensured at full, and
  • reasonable accommodation of the individual’s requirements is provided.

American College develops a policy and specific procedures aiming at providing educational support and guidance to all of its students to ensure equality in all Academic matters. The current policy provides a classification of Special Educational Needs, describes the procedure to acknowledge the Educational Needs, defines Reasonable Accommodation, and the possible measures that can be taken when a student is acknowledged as a Special Educational Needs Student.

 

 

Definition of Special Educational Needs (SEN)

SEN describe any learning difficulties or disabilities that make it hard for students to learn as most of the same age, under the same conditions, unless they receive special educational provisions. Some examples of SEN include:

  • Thinking, understanding and learning: difficulties with all or some learning activities such as reading and spelling,
  • Other Learning Difficulties: Dyslexia, Dyscalculia, Written Expression Disorder, Non-Identified Learning Disorder, Special Learning Disorder,
  • Emotional and behavioural difficulties: difficulties to follow rules or settle down and behave properly in school,
  • Speech, language and communication: difficulties in expressing oneself or understanding what others are saying, difficulties in making friends or relate to others,
  • Physical or sensory difficulties: a disability or a medical condition that has an impact upon learning, including visual, hearing impairments, and movement disabilities,
  • Attention Deficit and / or Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD),
  • Psycho-emotional disorders,
  • Other Health problems qualifying as SEN.

 

 

Acknowledgment of SEN
The identification of students entitled of additional support and reasonable accommodation due to SEN, can be achieved by:

  • the Admissions Officer upon admissions of the student to American College
  • the Academic Advisors upon enrolment of the student into courses
  • the student at any time during her/his studies
  • a referral by any Faculty member
  • a referral by any third party who have secured the students to inform the College
  •  

All referrals must then be submitted in writing to the Director of Academic Affairs.

 


The Director of Academic Affairs will collect all required official documentation and appropriate assurances from associated government agencies and/or other bodies, and taking into consideration current legislative provisions will decide on the type(s) of arrangements and reasonable accommodation to be offered. The student and all involved faculty and administration members will then be informed on the decision accordingly.

 


The decision will include accommodations the student is entitled in respect to teaching, written assignments and other coursework activities, attendance, and mid-term and final examinations. The decision will also include the eligibility period (if applicable) and any other details related to supporting the student. All possible measures to be taken for SEN students are found at the last section of the policy.
The decision will be given in writing.

 


Reasonable Accommodation


Any student of American College who experiences any of the SEN mentioned earlier, is entitled for Academic and Administrative support and reasonable accommodation according to the ‘Education and Training of Children with Disabilities Cyprus Law’ of 1999, and amendments of 2001, 2014, and 2020.


According to Article 2 of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and Optional Protocol, ‘Reasonable Accommodation’ is defined as:


“the means necessary and appropriate modification and adjustments not imposing a disproportionate or undue burden, where needed in a particular case, to ensure to persons with disabilities the enjoyment or exercise on an equal basis with others of all human rights and fundamental freedoms”.

 


Measures to be Taken for SEN students


Students with SEN may be eligible for a number of reasonable accommodation and academic adjustments, during lectures and/ or during examinations. The Director of Academic Affairs will notify in writing those affected or involved as to the accommodations SEN students are entitled to. Examples of possible measures can be the following:

 

During Lectures

  • Provide students with additional study material
  • Provide students with academic material in advance
  • Have regular one-to-one meetings with students to discuss any difficulties, provide clarifications, respond to questions, etc.
  • Discuss inappropriate behaviour of students in private
  • Allow students to sit in the class anywhere they feel comfortable
  • Allow students to take frequent breaks
  • Inform students of any matters concerning your course and classes well in advance
  • Speak loud and clear
  • Allow repetition of questions by students
  • Sow leniency in solving in-class exercises or in the practical part of the course

 

During Mid-Term and Final Examinations

  • Allow students extra time (about 25% more)
  • Exempt students from spelling, punctuation and grammar
  • Simplify the wording and language of the examination paper
  • Orally explain some or all of the questions
  • Prepare separate examination question paper with simplified questions, larger fonts or spacing
  • Allow students to take rest breaks
  • Allow repetition of questions by students
  • Show leniency in the practical part of the examination
  • Allow students to sit in the class anywhere they feel comfortable
  • Arrange for an individual examination in a separate class
  • Arrange for an Oral Examination

 

Oral Examination for SEN

In case a student is eligible for an Oral Examination, the following will apply:

  • students and instructors will be notified in writing on the day(s), time(s) and duration of the oral examination;
  • the exam covers the same areas as the written examination, although it might be worded differently;
  • in the case the students to be orally examined have a movement and/or sensory disability, additional measures will apply as per the previous section;
  • the oral examination will be conducted in a appropriate environment for the student to feel comfortable;
  • the oral examination will be recorded for transparency;
  • the recording of the oral examination will be kept in the archive following the provisions of the General Data Protection Regulation (ΕΕ) 2016/679;
  • during the oral examination, the examiner will orally present the examination instructions and questions to the student, repeating them as necessary;
  • further detailed explanations on the examination questions will be given according the decided measures as in the previous section;
  • in the case a student provides a wrong answer, this answer is recorded and examiners should note indicate in any way that the given answer is wrong or incomplete.
  • Under no circumstances the examined student should gain an advantage over the other students taking the written examination. The instructor/ examiner must make sure that all students are treated equally, removing any advantages from some students, and eliminating any disadvantages from others.

 

 


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