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What if I have a disability?

Having a physical or mental health issue, or additional learning support need, need not be a barrier to you joining a course. Hear how in this section

If you’re disabled, you may be wondering how realistic it will be to manage a course of learning in any format, never mind the possibility of coming to university. In this section we will look at what support and services are available for those of us who have a long term health condition, mental health condition, specific learning difficulty or disability.

We have already learnt that those of us who have a disability, either physical, mental or learning difficulty are less likely to engage in learning as an adult or take employment. Schuller and Watson (2009) found the two were connected, suggesting that learners with such barriers are also more likely to experience other barriers such as inclusive living spaces or access to learning support. .

The Office for Public Management Report – Removing barriers, raising disabled people’s living standards (2014), found that ‘Barriers and challenges identified by disabled people focus groups and interviews included having sufficient choice and control; access and inclusion; having their voice heard; stigma and discrimination; participation and maintaining social connections.

The UK Disability Act 2016 intends to protect such learners by stating ‘It’s against the law for a school or other education provider to treat disabled students unfavourably. This relates to adult learning by:

  • Direct discrimination: refusing admission to a student because of disability

  • Indirect discrimination: only providing application forms in one format that may not be accessible

  • Harassment: a tutor shouts at a disabled student for not paying attention when the student’s disability stops them from easily concentrating

  • Victimisation: suspending a disabled student because they’ve complained about harassment.

All education providers have a duty of care to make ‘reasonable adjustments’ to ensure that disabled students or students with additional learning needs are not excluded or discriminated against.

Changes can include material changes to buildings or rooms, or providing additional support or equipment to aid learning.

Here at the University of York we offer a comprehensive support system across departments and teams.

Check out what our Disability Services Team have to offer and the support that is available here.

Is there anything in the video here from Glen which surprises you?

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