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Studying with a visual disability

Having a visual disability can impact your learning at Leiden University.

Both partial sight and blindness affect a student's interaction with their environment, thus how they experience and learn from it. This means that studying with a visual disability may require additional time and effort. Still, many students study successfully and accomplish many things despite their diagnosis. Leiden University has a range of study adjustments available to support you throughout your studies.

Adaptations can be made to the ways in which you follow classes and take exams. Special arrangements and facilities offered by Leiden University for students with a visual disability are:

  • Text-to-speech software, that reads your study materials aloud whilst highlighting the text. For this you will need digital versions of your study materials. You can contact Fenestra for both the software and the digital versions.   
  • Extensions to assignment deadlines
  • Alternative assignments
  • Additional time for exams (maximum of 30 minutes extra for a three hour exam)
  • Examination papers in a larger format
  • Taking examinations in a separate room with fewer students
  • Having an alternative type of examination
  • Use of laptop for examinations
  • Alternative study plan with a reduced workload
  • Taking personal circumstances into consideration for your BSA (Binding Study Advice)

Request adaptations

Make an appointment

To arrange special adaptations for your studies, please make an appointment with Fenestra Disability Centre, Leiden University’s information centre for students with a disability.

Exception: additional time for exams

If you only require additional exam time and have an official diagnosis, you can submit a request as follows: 

  1. Make a digital copy of your diagnosis, i.e. a letter issued by a doctor or clinic. This can be either in Dutch or English. If you need to have your diagnosis translated from a different language, mention this when completing the contact form – see next step. 
  2. Complete and submit the contact form (select ‘Additional time for exams’)
After submitting your request
  • Within two weeks, one of our staff members will be in touch with you.
  • For most faculties, these adjustments will automatically continue for all your exams. However, some faculties unfortunately do not offer an automated system and require you to arrange additional time for each exam individually. Please talk to the study adviser of your programme or with Fenestra Disability Centre if you are unsure whether your faculty offers an automated system or not.

Inform your study adviser

Make sure to let your study adviser know that you have requested advice from Fenestra.

Guidance & advisors

Fenestra Disability Centre provides advice on all disability-related matters. If you need support in other areas, there are other advisers available.
See all advisers and guidance services


Additional facilities in the home might be both needed and welcome if you have a disability.
Read more about housing

Financial support

Students with a disability can incur additional expenses both during their studies and in daily life. There are a number of regulations, funds and special allowances in place that can help to ease the financial burden.
Read more about financial support

Healthcare and home care

In some circumstances you might need additional healthcare or home care facilities or support.  
Read more about healthcare and home care

Legal protection

According to the Act on the Equal Treatment of the Disabled and Chronically Ill, it is strictly forbidden to discriminate on the grounds of disability and chronic illness when providing employment, accommodation, goods and services.
Read more about legal protection

Social support

Staying in contact with other students might not always be easy but it is very important. Find out about the different ways in which you can meet other students.

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