This article explains the University definition of a disability.


Equality Act definition

The Equality Act 2010 definition of disability is “ ….has mental or physical impairment that has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on the person’s ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities."

Further explanation of key terms above


In other words not minor or trivial. The person is still considered disabled if the effects of their impairment are alleviated or removed by ongoing treatments or aids (with the exception of spectacles).


The effect of the impairment has lasted or is likely to last for more than 12 months.

Normal day-to-day activities

These are considered in context so, as well as including such matters as eating, washing and walking, will also include activities regularly encountered by a student in Higher Education such as sustained periods of concentration, reading, writing and researching.


The University’s perspective

If you have a long-term condition that substantially impacts on your ability to access the campus, curriculum, teaching, learning and assessment process and any other University services available to students, you will be regarded as a disabled student and may be eligible for adjustment and support.

Who does this include?

This will may include students with:

  • Long standing illnesses or conditions (e.g. diabetes, epilepsy, chronic fatigue syndrome, digestive and bowel conditions, cancer, cystic fibrosis, severe facial disfigurement, HIV)
  • Mental health difficulties (e.g. depression, anxiety disorders)
  • Sensory impairments (e.g. deaf, blind, serious sight or hearing impairment)
  • Physical impairments (e.g. back injuries, arthritis, wheelchair users, dexterity difficulties)
  • Specific learning difficulty (e.g. dyslexia, ADD/ADHD, dyspraxia)
  • Social impairment (e.g. Autistic Spectrum Conditions, incl. Asperger Syndrome)