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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 at university. If you have a long term health condition, mental health condition, specific learning difficulty or disability, it’s likely you’ll be able to get extra support to enable you to study, and stay focused and organised. You don’t need to have had support in school or college to be able to get support at university. Our disability team can work with you to put together a student support plan which details any extra support you need. Depending on your needs, you may be eligible for Disabled Students Allowance. Which is a grant paid towards the cost of your support,
for example: any specialist equipment you need; specialist mentoring; specialist dyslexia support; sign language interpreters, and a range of other types of support. You can apply for Disabled Students Allowance online when you apply for your student finance (or afterwards if you’ve already applied). You be asked to provide some evidence of your condition or specific learning difficulty. You can download an evidence form to be filled in by your doctor or other health professional. If you have a specific learning difficulty, you will need to provide an educational psychology report. If you’re eligible, because everyone is different, you will be asked to attend a study needs assessment.
This is not a medical assessment, it is a meeting with an adviser where you will talk about the types of support which may enable you to reach your full potential. The adviser will write a report and send it to your student finance provider. You’ll get a letter telling you the types of support agreed and how to apply for it. You may need a specific type of accommodation because of a health condition, mental health condition or disability. If that’s the case, you can inform the Accommodation team of your needs using the additional requirements process on the website.
Please provide evidence of your condition and as much information as you can to assist the team in determining the room type you need, you can download some notes from our website to take to your GP or health professional. If you require a specific room type you may be eligible for funding to meet additional costs of the accommodation. If you need more information or advice please get in touch.

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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