Information for instructors who teach students with special needs

What entitlements for study modifications may students have?

This is based on the type and degree of their disability. In the overwhelming majority of cases, students are entitled to additional time for taking exams. This is usually set at 25%, 50%, 75%, or 100% of additional time and applies to any type of testing, i.e. for both course credit and exams and both written and oral examinations. Naturally, this places increased demands on instructors. They must reserve more time and arrange for supervision and a room. Therefore, the rule is that students must make such a request (i.e. contact you) no later than seven days before the exam in order to give you sufficient time to prepare everything and agree on the details with the student (Will they start earlier or finish later? Will they be in a separate room or together with the others? Who will supervise them there? Do they need a modified exam format, e.g. enlarged font, etc.?). It may also be the case that the exam is organized in two parts (typically computational and theoretical) that are taken one right after the other with a short break, but the student will need to have the exam parts divided into two different days. The additional time may also apply to the deadlines for handing in assignments (e.g. protocols from laboratory exercises) – this depends on the agreement between you and the student.

Frequently asked question about adjusting the time for testing: can a written exam for students who are entitled to additional time be organized centrally so that it does not take up time for other professional work? This may be possible in the future, but not at the moment. The faculty is too dispersed in the various buildings and fields of study for this, and students with these requirements are not all that common. It is also difficult for us to consistently meet the requirement that a student entitled to additional time take an exam in a different room, but at the same time as the main group of students (otherwise another version of the assignment would need to be created). For the time being, it is more practical if employees share this duty, i.e. all instructors organize this themselves. One possible solution is to assign exam supervision to, for example, one of your PhD students (they will be paid for doing this by us in the form of a scholarship). If, in the end, you really do not have a suitable person for supervision, contact us and we will find someone. However, if the number of students increases in the future, we will need to look for other solutions.

Another typical request is the need for individual consultation. This, of course, depends on the possibilities of each instructor, and it is obvious that none of us can spend a long time caring for one individual student. It is also necessary to keep consultation and tutoring separate. (Students have the option of tutoring from older students.) At the beginning of each academic year, we usually ask instructors to record any additional consultation hours, and at the end of the academic year, we ask you to report these hours. Additional consultation, as well as supervision for additional time relating to exams, are reimbursed in the form of a pay bonus or a stipend if this work was carried out by a PhD student.

There are a number of specific modifications that are not so common, but are always described in the functional diagnoses. This can be, for example, enlarged print (for the visually impaired), the use of various technical aids (for the visually and hearing impaired), increased tolerance for illegible handwriting and spelling errors (for dysgraphia), a preference for oral examinations over written ones (for dysgraphia), oral repetition of written assignments (for dyslexia), the need to give clear instructions without the possibility of double interpretation and checking that the student has understood the assignment (for Asperger syndrome), etc.

How do you find out about a student’s entitlements?

  1. The most basic and easiest situation: a student requests a modification to their studies and they know what they want and what they are entitled to, supported by a functional diagnosis. Students may request a modification only if they possess a document referred to as a “functional diagnosis assessment” or simply a “functional diagnosis” (FD) – full title of the document: “Expert Assessment of a Student of Charles University with Special Needs”, which is on the Charles University letterhead form and is signed by both the student and the author of the FD (one of the special education experts at CU). For the majority of students, we send their FDs to their instructors at the beginning of each semester. However, some students prefer to contact their instructors themselves, or for various reasons, our list of their instructors may not be complete, in which case the students must provide their functional diagnoses themselves. In addition, students must be registered in the “Student” database as a student with special needs, and everyone with a FD should have this status. Instructors cannot verify this status in the SIS (it is sensitive data). Should there be any uncertainties, you can contact the student affairs office or contact us directly at
  2. If a student requests modifications to their exams, etc. and does not provide a functional diagnosis, please contact us. If they are properly registered and the FD is available (we will confirm this and send it to you), then everything is fine and the student is entitled to modifications. In the opposite case (i.e. the student does not have an FD and submits other documents, such as a medical report, etc.), then they are not entitled to modifications. In this case, please refer the student to us so that we can resolve the situation.
  3. There may be a situation where you observe that the student is behaving in an unusual manner (they seem depressed, neurotic, they have extremely poor written communication, you have the feeling that they have problems with sight/hearing, etc.), but they do not request any help, they try to manage everything by themselves, and they do not realize that they are not capable of this. This may be a manifestation of some difficulties that the student does not yet realize themselves. In this case, please try to talk to the student in a sensitive manner and either send them to us or recommend one of the psychological support services for CU students. Such situations are quite common today. A student’s medical condition (whether somatic or psychological) is not related to their intelligence, and for some psychological problems, it is often a temporary issue that can be managed thanks to appropriate care, and the student can return to their studies. They may also show signs of dyslexia, dysgraphia, and the like, but they try to manage the situation without modifications. This is often due to a fear of stigmatization, inadequate response to this situation by the family, etc. Hence, students find it difficult to cope with the demands of their studies (in the case of dyslexia or dysgraphia, this is often the case when studying foreign languages) and may have difficulties that lead to dropping out of school. In such cases, your intervention will help the student – by sending them to us or to some professional service.

Counselling services for CU employees

The CU Academic Counselling Centre (at the Faculty of Education) provides the same services to all CU employees as CU students free of charge. These services include in particular:

  • Psychological counselling (for psychological problems, especially work-related – burn-out syndrome, personal or relationship problems, etc., including the teacher-student relationship),
  • Personal counselling, resolving difficult life situations,
  • Logopaedic counselling (if you need to improve your verbal expression),
  • Counselling relating to a health disability or limitation,
  • Etc.

If you are in need of any of these services, do not hesitate to contact the employees of the Academic Counselling Centre. We are also here for you – university employees. Like anyone else, you may be facing a difficult life situation that you do not know how to deal with, personal or relationship problems, and, as is common in professions that work with people, burn-out syndrome.


Charles University, Faculty of Mathematics and Physics
Ke Karlovu 3, 121 16 Praha 2, Czech Republic
VAT ID: CZ00216208

HR Award at Charles University

4EU+ Alliance