Disabilities and Learning Difficulties

Learning disabilities and special needs

Bifröst University provides equal opportunities for study, regardless of students’ gender, age, finances, disability or residence. We recognise the importance of providing accommodations for students whose disabilities challenge them significantly in their studies.

To be eligible for academic accommodations, an expert diagnosis of the learning disability or special need must be submitted to the school counsellor through the service gateway (þjónustugátt) on the schools website.

Definition of disability

Disability, in this context, refers to mental or physical disabilities, as defined by Icelandic law on the affairs of the disabled.

Special needs/impediments refer to specific study difficulties and impediments resulting from accidents, chronic disease or other causes.

Academic accommodations

The main accommodations available to students are:

In studies:

  • Supportive interviews with student counsellors

  • Courses on study methods and approaches

  • Scanning of study material and subsidised speech synthesisers

In examinations:

  • Extended examination time (15 minutes added to each hour) in final examinations

  • Rest time during exam (not subtracted from exam time)

  • Distraction-free environment, special exam rooms for students with longer examination times, solitude if necessary

  • Enlarged and/or coloured examination papers

  • Oral examinations

Additionally, most examinations at Bifröst are taken on computers and all lectures (instructor slides) are available in electronic form.

Obtaining accommodations

Individual needs are different, but the school counsellor works closely with students to identify and obtain appropriate support. For all special learning solutions, students must submit a diagnosis or a testimonial from a competent party before the appointed deadline:

  • Special study accommodations: one week prior to start of semester
  • Special accommodations in exams: one month before start of first exam

If a diagnosis/testimonial is submitted after this time, the University cannot guarantee that it will be possible to arrange for special accommodations. 

Accommodations agreement

Once the appropriate accommodations have been established, a written agreement is drawn up between the student and school counsellor.

Implementing accommodations

When the councellor receives a diagnosis, s/he works together with the student and the persons responsible for the course(s) in question to assess the student’s needs and appropriate accommodations.

The approval of the department or teacher is not required for special solutions unless they require the direct involvement of the department staff, for example if a student needs to take an oral instead of a written examination.

In the event of issues relating to concessions which are either unorthodox or difficult to apply, the case is referred to a meeting of the Academic Council, which decides in the matter. The counsellor attends the meeting on the student’s behalf.

The purpose of academic accommodations is to compensate for difficulties that students encounter as a result of diagnosed learning disabilities and special needs. The University can deny accommodations to a students if this will lower academic standards and thus excuse the student in question from meeting the requirements for completion of a class or graduation.