Joensuun seudun erilaiset oppijat ry (Jose) is a nonprofit organization that aims to help people with difficulties in learning in the North Karelia region. We give out information, guidance and organize activities to support you as a learner.

Joensuun seudun erilaiset oppijat ry provides:

  • Information
  • Personal guidance
  • Groups and peer-support
  • Training
  • Events

Contact information:

tel. 044 282 0022

email: info(at)

Suvantokatu 20

80100 Joensuu


Nowadays, there are two terms referring to learning problems: learning disabilities and learning difficulties. Most often than not, they are used interchangeably, though various learning and medical organisations claim there is a difference between them, after all.

Contrary to the common belief, learning disabilities is a group of disorders that have been medically diagnosed affecting one’s quality of life. Usually, they manifest due to some genetic or neurobiological disease/factor that influence brain functions. They accompany a person during their life and cannot be cured. The most well-known example of the learning disability is Down’s syndrome.

 Learning difficulties, on the other hand, are not the result of either mental retardation or bad education. This group of disorders has everything to do with the difficulties when acquiring and using such skills as listening, reading, speaking, writing, and doing mathematics. They can manifest at different stages of one’s development. The most common learning disabilities are dyslexia, attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), dyscalculia, and dyspraxia. It is possible to have only one disorder or a combination of several of them. Some famous people are known to have had a learning difficulty are Albert Einstein, Hans Christian Anderson, Winston Churchill, Thomas Edison, Walt Disney, and others.

Joensuu regional association for special learners (or JOSE) is an organisation that helps people with learning difficulties and provides:

  • ·       information, support, counselling, and guidance on learning
  • ·       information and advice on devices & apps that enhance the learning process
  • ·       help for individuals
  • ·       reading test (you can get an official certificate of reading difficulty)

In order to cope with or eliminate any learning difficulty, you can participate in the following activities:

·       courses

·       peer groups

·       training

·       individual counselling⁄consultation

·       learning-related events


JOSE operates in Joensuu and across the whole region of North Karelia.

The history of JOSE dates to 1998 when it was founded with the establishment of peer support groups. During the period of 1998-2003, various educational and recreational activities were organised.

Karpaka’s vocational school (now, Luovi vocational school) influenced the foundation of the present association.

After a short break, the association started working again in 2005. Since its foundation, JOSE has received various fundings and participated in different projects:

·       Luki-bussi

·       Lukineuvola, 2005-2007

·       Oppiapu, 2007

·       Taitojen Tukijat, 2013 – 2016

JOSE also provides writing test but only after the reading test has been passed. Besides, we organise adult peer support groups for people with learning difficulties. You can come, share, and discuss your learning experience, thoughts, ideas, and means of coping with learning difficulties. This kind of activity does not oblige you to do anything.

We have also developed a number of tools and tips to support your learning process and make it easier:


Kanban is a simple task management tool which can appear in two forms: physical and digital. Irrelevant of the form, however, it has one and the same function, i.e. to make your work clear and understandable through visualisation.

If you use a physical type of Kanban, you can laminate it and write on it with erasable markers, for instance. Another option is to use sticky notes which you can stick to any Kanban column and then move them to the next one.

You can use a Kanban board, for instance, when writing an essay or outlining work tasks for the next week, or even month.

If writing an essay seems to be rather a burdensome task, you can divide the process into different parts. All parts should be depicted on the Kanban board, either with an erasable marker or on a piece of a sticker. First, you place these parts into the column ”tehtävä/task”, then ”työn alla/work in progress”, and, finally, ”valmis/ready”.

You can put Kanban on the wall near you or in front of your working place and look at the schedule.

Semester Plan

A semester plan chart can be used for making your semester plan. In the horizontal boxes above, you can write the studying months. The vertical boxes on the left can be used for the names of the courses. In order to make your plan stand out or more vivid you can use different colourful markers. Besides, you can also laminate it (as it was the case with Kanban described above) and use either erasable markers or sticky (colourful) notes. Inside the ‘white’ boxes, you can put any relevant information concerning your studies: deadlines, types of the course, exams, etc.

In case it is hard for you to plan your work for the whole semester, you can use a shorter version of the studying plan described below.

2-weeks schedule/plan

Such schedule template can be used not only for your studies but for the everyday life as well. You can plan all kinds of events there, from school to doctor appointments.

Tips for writing

We have compiled some useful and reliable guidelines for writing. Try them yourself and leave a comment!

 1.             Plan

·       read the assignment carefully and understand what is needed from you: describe, compare, tell, classify, reflect on, etc. In case you do not understand, try to read the assignment once again

·       divide the task into several parts: research materials, reading, note-taking, making a draft, writing, etc.

·       make yourself familiar with the topic: read the materials you have searched for, take notes, make a mind map, make a comparison chart, etc.

·       make a draft/a rough copy. If you read it out loud, it can give you an opportunity to notice words that do not fit, grammar mistakes, or just words that do not sound nice

·       You can make a schedule of all the tasks you need to do in order to finish the assignment. You can put that schedule onto your Kanban or schedule board

2.             Work

·       in case of large written projects, you can divide them into different parts and files

·       with short projects (an essay, for instance) do not forget to divide your text into paragraphs

·       the process of writing an essay:

·       research on the topic – writing a draft – revision – second draft – revision – final version. You can come up with as many drafts as you need to get a satisfactory result

·       print the final version of your text and check it for any errors. You can use colourful markers to highlight the passages (sentences, or just words) that sound odd or unpleasant. Reading aloud also helps you differentiate unpleasant words, grammatical mistakes, wrong structures

·       in case of writing a thesis or an article, do not forget about the reference list

3.             Finish

        ·       you can read your final version aloud to your relatives or friends. Sometimes, it is useful to show your work to someone else with a ‘fresh eye’, so to say. If you work on your project for a long time, you can get used to the words and text, and you can miss some very nasty mistakes, illogical sequence of events and narration, or unpleasantries.

       ·       if your work consists of multiple files or parts, then, it is time to combine them all and finalise your version. If you need to send your work on your institution’s template, it is also the stage when you insert your work into the template.

 Essay Structure

In case you need more detailed notes on how to write an essay, download our Essay-writing tips! We hope they will help you reach the results you are aiming at.


  • Ø always start with the phrases that can get the reader’s attention. For that, you can use descriptions of your experience, environment, part of the day, a definition or a statement, or get straight to the point, etc., e.g.: ”The night was pitch-dark, quiet, and moonless when Peter was walking home through the park. The wind brought some rustling from the dark bushes on the left…”
  • Ø  remember that Introduction serves the purpose of presenting your topic. You can start it with such words and phrases (or sentences):

·                       The topic of my essay/narration/report is…

·                       In this essay I am going to talk/discuss/compare/ review…

·                       The topic I am talking about here is relevant/important to me because…

  • Ø  remember about the style: your essay can be either formal or informal. In case you are writing an informal essay, you should choose informal language and structures.
  • Ø  give some background information: why this topic, why it is important.
  • Ø  though Introduction is the first part of any essay, it is not mandatory to write it first. You can make a draft of the essay in general and write Introduction at the final stage.
  • Ø  remember that Introduction cannot be a long part of your essay. Usually, it takes up to 5 – 6 sentences in case of a short (1 page) essay (about 10% of the essay).

Middle Part/The body

Ø  the middle is always the most important and interesting part in any essay. It is the part where you reveal your topic: you describe, explain, teach, depict, etc.

Ø  the body of the text can include as many parts and⁄or paragraphs as you see fit. But you should always remember that every new topic, thought, or idea must be started with a new paragraph. Moreover, the paragraphs should be arranged in some kind of an order that you choose: chronological, for instance, or comparative, etc. Let´s say, you want to write a description of two things. Do not forget to write about one thing first in one paragraph and about another thing in the next paragraph. If you are describing advantages and disadvantages, it is better to write about advantages of both things first, sorting through each and every item, and only then go to describing their disadvantages, step by step.

Ø  remember about using linking words and phrases that help you link words and sentences in the text, making the text smooth and logical. All linking words and phrases can be divided into groups depending on their purpose. Here is a list of some of them: to start with, first, second, next, then, afterwards, finally, in conclusion, to sum up, however, moreover, furthermore, and many others.


Usually, the final part of any essay is intended for giving results or conclusions. First, you summarise everything you have talked about in your text, just giving some main points. Second, you provide your opinion on the main ideas expressed in the text. You can also give a piece of advice, provide some arguments, raise a /rhetorical/ question (s). Then, you can also dwell on future development of the topic, making some prognosis, for instance, or introducing your plans for your future research or investigation.

 Learning Tips Booklets

You can download and use tips for learning from our booklets:

  • ·       Tips for studying languages
  • ·       Learning aids and applications
  • ·       A small guide to learning

 Learning difficulties in working life

We have compiled a set of tips that can help employers to take care of their employees with learning disabilities better.

Learning disability


According to Statistics Finland, about 20% of elementary school pupils experience learning difficulties in writing, reading, mathematics, perceiving space, direction, time, attention, or just with their motor skills. Still, having learning difficulties does not mean that you should not learn. You learn, only with a little bit different pace and/or senses than the rest of people do.


The reason behind learning difficulties can be, for instance, genes, an early childhood disease/illness, injuries, or accidents. One of the most wide-spread learning difficulties is dyslexia, found to be hereditary, and the reasons are mostly neurological or neurobiological.


Though learning difficulties stay with you throughout your life, you still have all chances for learning. For that, however, you need to try a lot of different learning ways and find the easiest and most suitable ones for you. The learning process may take more time and efforts than usual, and the most important thing is to accept your learning difficulty.

Most often, learning difficulties can appear in the following areas:

·       perception

·       motor skills

·       linguistic development

·       alertness and operational control

·       reading and writing

·       mathematics

·       learning foreign languages

Teachers’ tip bank

In some cases, students admit having learning difficulties but do not know how to cope with the problem or whom to ask for help. The teacher’s task is to be able to recognise the existence of the problem based on the expertise and experience. Once the problem has been defined, it is time to look for its solution.

First, discuss the problem with the student and find out what their biggest concern is. The student can express their opinion about your advice on the learning facilitation.

Second, a regular appointment with a special education teacher or neuropsychologist/psychologist can help track down the learning progress. After that, some adjustments/improvements to the learning plan can be made.

Third, you can use a wide variety of learning aids, which makes the learning process easier, smoother, and faster.

Fourth, always split the assignment into smaller tasks.

Fifth, summarise the lesson’s material at the end of the lesson. It helps students remember the main points of the lesson.

Finally, it is also a good idea to focus on the student’s strengths and not weaknesses.

Students’ tip bank

First, split your assignment into smaller tasks which makes it easier to carry out.

Second, you can record yourself while reading different texts like History, Geography, or Physics, for instance. Then, you can listen to the recording as many times as you like, which enhances your memory skills.

Third, you can develop your attention skills by reading aloud. Such type of activity gives you a wide range of opportunities:

·       to notice mistakes in your work (essays, for instance)

·       to pay attention to words, phrases, special structures, or constructions the author has used, which enlarges your vocabulary

·       to improve your reading skills

Fourth, you can learn languages by talking. If there is nobody to talk to in the foreign language you are learning at the moment, you can do it yourself:

·       describe pictures aloud

·       read different texts aloud

·       think aloud while doing exercises

This ‘aloud’ technique gives you an opportunity not only to notice different mistakes or unpleasantries of your language, but also provides practice and enhances memory.

Fifth, you should find out more about yourself. Are you a visual learner? Is it easier for you to see the text or picture than listen to it? Are you an auditory learner? Do you better perceive information through listening and hearing? Once you find out what type of learner you are, it will be much easier for you to receive and store information.

Sixth, always remember to change activities once in a while. It is of no use to learn a foreign language for five hours straight. It will do you no good. You can follow this pattern, for instance, when leaning:

studying a foreign language – reading – a short break – writing – mathematics, etc.

Finally, use as many learning techniques as you can in order to find the best ones for you.

 At JOSE, there is a wide variety of courses and learning events created and organised for you.

Hobby courses


Handicraft course gives you an opportunity to get yourself familiar with different kinds of art and the ways you can express yourself through them.

The course is organised on-site as a face-to-face type of teaching. However, in order to be started, there must be at least 7 people signed up for the course. Participating does not require any previous knowledge.

 Creative movement/dancing course

Creative movement course is for all people interested in dance improvisation. The goal of the course is to deepen one’s awareness and idea about one’s own body and provide an opportunity for you to enlarge the spectre/range of your body motions which is also quite helpful when learning.

 Language courses

English for students

This English course is for everyone interested in studying English. The course prepares students for vocational and academic courses at higher education institutions and graduation essays. The study methods support different ways of learning. In order to be started, the course must have at least 7 participants.

 Reading English

During the course, English is studied using various functional methods in a relaxed atmosphere. The goal is to learn and remember basic things and to encourage using the language. You can participate in the course regardless of your English language skills. Participating in the course does not require previous knowledge. In order to be implemented, the course must have at least 7 participants.

 Swedish for students

This Swedish course is for everybody who wants to speak Swedish. The course prepares students for vocational and academic courses at higher education institutions and matriculation essays. During the course, you get support in mastering basic grammar and Swedish vocabulary. The study methods support different ways of learning. In order to be implemented, the course must have at least 7 participants.

 Russian effortlessly

Come and study Russian in interesting and different ways. During the course, you will accumulate vocabulary to survive in everyday situations. Participating in the course does not require previous knowledge. In order to be implemented, the course must have at least 7 participants.

 Writing and reading workshop

Note! You can also participate in the workshops remotely!

You can come to the workshop to work on writing assignments and read texts related to your studies. The workshop also offers a good place to focus on writing work (e.g. a thesis, an essay, a reading text). We provide information, support, and activities to facilitate the process of writing and reading.

You can participate in every session of the course or just in one session of your choice.

The workshop first starts with a common section, where the most common problems of writing and reading are reviewed and ways to solve them are discussed. After this, the participants can start working on their own text.

 The writing and reading workshop is organized at the JOSE office in the Joensuu region or remotely via Teams (you will receive a link in your email on the day of the workshop). Each participant is assigned to their own workspace so that we can prevent possible infections. Come only in good health.

 Good luck with your studies

‘Have fun with your studies’ workshop (for students).

Come and develop your own learning skills and learn about different learning aids. During the workshops, we practice and familiarize ourselves with different learning methods and ways of learning. You can participate in one or more workshops. In order to be started, there must be at least 4 participants in the workshop. The workshops are aimed at students.

 Stress management workshop

The stress management workshop is a group-style workshop aimed at students and workers, where one learns about the causes, consequences, and ways to manage stress and load. During the workshop, you will find out about and practice suitable methods for managing stress and your own recovery.

The training link will be provided before the first meeting.


Treasure Island

JOSE organized a Treasure Island Event in Utransaari on the Saturday before Mother’s Day in May.

 It was a free of charge event aimed at families with children, where children and adults got to work together on various crosswords and puzzles that support learning and development. The purpose of the event was also to share information about the JOSE activities and to offer happy moments and experiences in learning.

This year, Treasure Island Event is organised in the Muikku hall of the Joensuu main library on October 8, 2022 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Follow our website and social media regarding the event, more information coming soon!

 Assistive training

In aid training, you get to learn about learning aids and practice using them. We also go through tablet applications to some extent. The training is aimed at professionals and those interested in the matter.

 Reading camp

The camp is aimed primarily at 1.-3. graders who have challenges in reading and writing.

The Reading camp is a day camp. Camp hours are Mon-Fri from 9 am to 3 pm. The activity of the reading camp focuses mostly on learning through different games and activities. The practice of reading and writing skills is supported daily. Also, we go outside for a walk every day.

The camp fee is paid in the morning of the first camp day by a bank card or cash. (If necessary, also a payment link as a payment option). Lunch and snacks are provided daily at the camp.

 Reading week

International dyslexia week, i.e. reading difficulty theme week, was celebrated on October 4-10, 2021.

The theme of the week was Occupational well-being and reading difficulties. The aim of the reading week was to increase employers’ and employees’ awareness and understanding of the challenges and opportunities of reading difficulties and learning difficulties as part of work well-being. Luki week in Finland is coordinated by JOSE, which organised the week together with its partners.

 Visit us

 Come and make yourself familiar with JOSE activities. The free basic introduction takes about 30 minutes.

We organize paid familiarization visits to our office for groups. We can also train via remote connection. The presentations contain information about JOSE activities, as well as learning difficulties and learning aids. Presentations can include, e.g.:

·       information about learning difficulties and especially reading difficulties

·       workshops on the use of various learning aids

·       information on where to get help with learning difficulties


Centre for lifelong learning

The centre for lifelong learning was a JOSE project. The goal of the project was to strengthen adults’ basic skills in counting, reading and writing, digital skills and study skills, to establish an accessible space for strengthening skills and to develop a tool for noticing and addressing learning difficulties in adults in various fields.

The partners of the Centre for Lifelong Learning project were the City of Joensuu, North Karelia County Association, Karelia University of Applied Sciences, Riveria, North Karelia Sosiaaliturvayhdistys ry, North Karelia Mental Health Support Association and the Association of Different Learners. The project was financed by the European Social Fund. The project’s operational period was 1 February 2019-31 January 2022. For more information about the project, please contact Executive Director Päivi Ainasto on 044 282 0029 or paivi.ainasto(at)

 Learning living room for adults

 The Lifelong Learning Centre project will end on January 31, 2022. The last workshops were in December, individual guidance from Miia and Johanna will no longer be available in January 2022. Check out other offerings from JOSE and contact Satuu or Päivi!

·       Would the basic skills be fragile? (Basic skills include e.g. reading and writing various texts, basic use of a computer and smart devices, basic calculations, time management and various study techniques.)

·       Does your work or study involve math, but it seems challenging? Do you need help writing a job application or other text?

·       Do you know how to use computer? Does this activity seem to be challenging for you?

·       Do you dream of studying, but you don’t really know how to study? Are your studies in progress, but not going as you would like them to? Is it difficult to find important things in the text? Are the courses and assignments on hold and you don’t know where to start?

 ·       You can get help with such topics from Oppiminen’s living  room. Contact Johanna or Miia, and we will set up a time for a discussion. You can continue with individual guidance and/or participate in the Learning living room or workshop. The activity is free of charge for you.

·       Whether you are a student, employed, unemployed or pensioner and need support for learning, welcome! In the learning living room, you can get learning support tools and peer support for studies, work, and life.

·       You can come to the workshop to do your own tasks or practice reading, writing, arithmetic, and digital skills with various tasks at your own pace. We help when needed. In the workshop you can also chat with others and possibly get peer support and tips for living with your own learning disability.

·       You can carry on with the activities either full time or part time, whichever you like. We hope that you attend an individual counsellingsss before coming to the workshop. Register for the workshops by sending us a text or email no later than the morning of the day in question, and we will know how to reserve a space.