I have been granted exam adjustments, so I've been able to spread and postpone my exams. By being open about my eating disorder, I've been given a number of tools and resources which have helped me out a lot;


Did you know this?

Colleges and universities strive towards an inclusive study climate in which all students are granted the opportunity to develop their talents. Besides a broad, inclusive counselling service, they also provide specific support for students with a disability. In Flanders, approximately 8% of all students apply for disabled student status.

Tailored support

Educational and exam measures

As a student with a disability you have the right to reasonable adjustments, which aim to eliminate the bottlenecks you experience in your educational and examination activities. Examples of measures that have been commonly awarded in higher education are: the use of compensating software, the possibility to leave class earlier or extra time to take a written exam.

Practical support for students with a disability is organized by care coordinators and student counsellors (note: these may be termed differently at your college or university, e.g. inclusion coach, diversity coach or student counsellor+).

Guidance, workshops and gatherings

Usually you can also receive individual guidance from a student counsellor or care coach. They can support you, for instance, in study planning and helping to find solutions for specific bottlenecks you encounter.

If you experience stress, you can also contact Student Services (‘stuvo’ in Dutch) or college/university psychologists. Together, you can find ways to reduce stress and learn how to cope. Colleges or universities also organize group sessions during which you can work on your mental wellbeing.

In addition, specific gatherings to bring students with particular support needs together are frequently organized. These gatherings, which take place in an informal setting, allow students to help and support each other by sharing their experiences of failure and success, as well as tips and tricks.


Each situation is unique and asks for specific solutions. As such, individual measures and support are always tailor-made and in dialogue with the educational institution.

By being open about my disability, I have been granted a lot of adjustments.


Which steps do you need to take?


To qualify for educational and examination measures, you need formal recognition of your disability and to apply for disabled student status. This status is granted on the basis of the (medical) documentation you supply.

Higher education institutions have developed uniform guidelines for this procedure, and more information on this topic can be found on your college's or university's website. Besides, every institution has a contact point (known as 'aanspreekpunt' in Dutch) that coordinates the support for students with disabilities and can inform you about the specific possibilities and procedures in your particular institution.

Advisory consultations

During an advisory consultation you discuss the bottlenecks you encounter as a result of your disability, in light of the specific education requirements (i.e. what you need to know and ought to be able to do after completing your education), since these requirements are upheld for all students, even those who have been granted special measures.


You can apply for help with specific support needs at any time of the year. However, bear in mind that arranging this help might take some time. This is why educational institutions impose several deadlines per semester for applications. Concrete information on this topic can be found on the website of your educational institution and in its educational and examination regulations or code.

It is advisable to address the contact point (aanspreekpunt) of your educational institution at the beginning of the academic year to arrange your application.

What if you are going through a rough patch?

As a student with a disability you have the right to reasonable adjustments. These cannot be refused unless they clash with the specific requirements of your education. If you experience difficulties in obtaining reasonable adjustments, you can discuss this with a specific contact point. Besides, internal procedures exist which allow you to lodge an appeal.

What happens to the information I disclosed?


Student psychologists and counsellors are bound to by professional secrecy. The contact point and care coordinators that arrange the support you apply for, are also bound by the obligation of confidentiality. This means that they handle your medical information strictly confidentially and are not permitted to pass on documents concerning your disability to others. They only communicate with lecturers or tutors about your support needs or tools/resources, without mentioning any diagnosis.


You are not obliged to report your diagnosis to tutors/lecturers or fellow students. Who you want to inform or notify is up to you. Alerting your surroundings about your disability is often referred to as ‘disclosure of outcoming’.

Students often experience this disclosure as a personal and sensitive process. Though sharing your diagnosis mostly leads to understanding and adjusted support, it can sometimes give rise to stereotypical reactions and prejudices. That's why it is important to give serious thought to whom you want to inform, and to whom you don't.

Talk about it 

Are you considering applying for disabled student status but are having some doubts? Talk about it with someone close to you or address the care coordinator or your counsellor. They often have a good insight into the specific context of your education and/or know certain tutors, and can therefore give you tailored advice on the procedures, disclosure and support options.

Keen to learn, read or hear more about this topic


  • siho.be: here the Support Centre Inclusive Higher Education gathers relevant information about being a student with a disability, and how to best prepare your transition to higher education.