Information for disabled applicants
Hello from Disability Services at the University of Leeds!
We know that starting university may be daunting, especially if you have a disability. But don’t worry: our friendly team is on hand to answer any questions you have about joining Leeds via firstname.lastname@example.org
Over 14% of the student body at Leeds is disabled – you are not alone. Welcome to our community.
Step 1: Browse our helpful handbook
The Disability Services handbook is your go-to document for disability support at Leeds.
Step 2: Register with us
Don’t wait for your studies to start! Setting up support can take some time, and you can register to receive support as soon as you have your offer from Leeds.
How to register:
Step 3: Apply for disability funding
Did you know that disabled students are usually eligible for extra funding? Disabled Students’ Allowances pay for any additional support you may need as a result of your disability, such as one to one help or specialist equipment.
- You can apply for DSA even before you’ve decided which university you’ll attend
- It can take up to fifteen weeks for DSA to be awarded so we recommend you do so early.
- Don’t miss out on this extra funding – it’s a grant, and does not need to be paid back.
- Find out more about DSA and other funding and check whether you’re eligible.
- Download our DSA flowchart to find out how the process works
Check your progress!
Our handy applicant checker tool is a guide to help you with the process of applying for university-based support from Disability Services. It also guides you through what you need to do to apply for additional funding, such as Disabled Students' Allowances. Take a look to make sure you’ve completed the necessary steps: https://leeds.onlinesurveys.ac.uk/applicant-checklist
Watch our online Q&A session
If you missed our online applicant event in July, watch our broadcast and revisit our Q&A here. Was your question not answered? Get in touch! Email us on email@example.com to ask yours.
Learn more about being a disabled student at university
Being a disabled student at university can differ from your experiences of being disabled at secondary school - there's changes in terminology, processes and support available. Our staff have created some guidance to explain these differences and ensure that you feel supported in the transition from school to higher education. You can read our guidance here.
Meet other disabled students
Say hello! Leeds has lots going on for disabled students and you will be welcomed into our community.
The LUU Neurodivergent Society
Neurodivergent is an umbrella term for people with a variety of neurological differences or conditions to the wider population. There is no set limit to what this includes, but some examples would be autism, ADHD, dyspraxia, dyslexia, Tourette’s, and even more. Our society is the place for those people.
It’s estimated that up to 1 in 5 people in the UK could be neurodiverse. With this number, it’s surprising how little awareness and understanding there is.
Our main aim as a society is to be a place that neurodiverse students can come to and be open about the things that affect them. It’s also a place to come to for specific peer to peer support and feel validated in things that neurodiverse people face. We also aim to support friend making with a variety of social events, and to raise more awareness and understanding about neurodiversity in general.
Having a diagnosis is NOT a requirement to join. We’re supportive of everyone no matter if they’re just starting to suspect they’re neurodiverse, or if they’ve been medicated and diagnosed for years. Similarly, as there’s no limits to conditions we’ll consider neurodiverse, we’ll leave it for you to decide if this society is helpful to you or not. Non neurodiverse students are also welcomed for both supporting peers and educational purposes.
We have some really fun socials like games and movie nights, talking about our conditions, and even sometimes some really helpful talks about university success. We also support each other informally, and have regular study sessions.
The LUU Disabled Students' Network
LUU DSN is a space for people to connect with others who understand the difficulties faced by living life as a student with a disability or long-term/chronic mental or physical health condition, with scope for organising disability rights activism.
Disability Services Student Panel
Our Student Panel is the chance for you to have your say and influence the work of Disability Services. The Panel accepts new students every year keen to put across new ideas about how our Service can improve. Visit the webpage to find out what the Panel have achieved and find out how you can get involved when you come to Leeds.
Top tips for starting university as a disabled student
We asked our disabled students for their top tips – here’s what they said:
Apply for support ASAP:
It takes time to get support set up, particularly at the start of the year. Make sure you have applied for DSA in advance of starting university as this process can take a while. Over half of the students eligible for DSA do not apply. Some of the support I received through DSA has truly revolutionised how I work, so it’s worth the effort!
Also, remember to get in touch with Disability Services to set up a support plan and arrange exam recommendations. You fully deserve the support you get so don’t feel afraid that you’re asking for ‘too much!’
Take a (virtual) stroll round campus
AccessAble is a great website for checking out if campus is accessible to you. I also found it useful to go on a ‘virtual tour’ of Leeds using Google Maps to get an idea of what campus and its surrounding areas looked like.
Meet people like you!
LUU’s Disabled Student Network and Neurodiversity Society are great ways to meet new people. Making friends with other disabled students can help you to feel less alone and offer a helping hand when you need it.
Hard work should not be at the expense of your wellbeing
If I could only give one tip for starting university, it would be to not compare yourself to others. There’s no denying university is tough, even more so when you’re disabled.
“We're all taught that hard work only ever looks like a grind. But when you *can't* grind, I think you soon realise that this is absolute [rubbish].” - @porridgebrain
Accepting that, on some days, working from your bed may be easier than sitting at your desk; reading one chapter of a book is better than nothing at all; resting is just as productive as working, give your body the time it needs to relax!
As a registered disabled student, you’ll get support from Disability Services. But you also have a point of contact within your school. Disability Contacts are members of staff (both academic and support) whose job it is to ensure that you get the support you’re entitled to.
You can find out more about our Disability Contacts, including where to find yours, here.
We offer a wide variety of advice and training in assistive technology. Whether you're already a whizz with assistive tech or are brand new to the concept, our Assistive Technology advisor is here to help.
We provide both 1:1 sessions and group workshops throughout the year to introduce the technology available to you. This includes screen readers, speech-to-text, productivity and organisational apps, and much more.
Find out more about our assistive technology help here.
If you’re planning to stay in University accommodation, book your place on a virtual viewing day in March and April and hear first hand from the students that live there.
Do you have additional requirements? Visit this page to find out more about finding the right accommodation for you.
Frequently asked questions
Should I tell the University about my disability?
If your disability impacts in some way on your learning, don’t hesitate to register for support. In doing so, we will be able to make adjustments for you to ensure that you are able to perform academically to the best of your abilities and get the most from your time at Leeds.
Any information you disclose about your disability on your application will not be considered by the University as part of the selection process. Your application will be assessed on its academic merits alone.
Who do you support?
Disability Services is here to support any student who has disclosed a disability throughout their time at the University of Leeds. You are considered to be disabled under the Equality Act if you have a physical, neurological, developmental or mental impairment that has a ‘substantial’ and ‘long-term’ negative effect on your ability to do normal daily activities. For a student, 'normal day to day activities' might include taking notes, writing, researching, reading large amounts of text and moving between multiple locations.
Do I have the right evidence?
You may also find it useful to check the evidence you have using our online evidence checker https://leeds.onlinesurveys.ac.uk/evidencechecker to find out quickly and easily if it meets the criteria.
We recognise that you may have difficulty obtaining your evidence during the coronavirus pandemic. For this reason, the evidence requirements have been temporarily altered to allow for this. This is outlined on the website but please contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions.
How do you inform my academic school about my disability?
Once you're registered, we will create a support summary sheet for you. This contains a brief description of your disability and how it affects you, as well as outlining the support you are eligible to access. It is shared on a strictly “need to know” basis with staff in your School who have responsibility for putting in place reasonable adjustments. Every School has a designated Disability Contact who will work with your teaching staff to ensure these agreed adjustments are implemented and will resolve any issues that might arise.
Your disability will otherwise remain completely confidential, and it is entirely up to you how much information you would like to share.
Will I get the same support that I received at school?
University studies differ from school or college, and you won’t necessarily receive the same kinds of support that you had. We will assess your needs based on the information you supply and talk to you about the adjustments you may be entitled to whilst at Leeds.
Can Disability Services help me to set up non-academic support, such as personal care and help with attending social actitivies?
Disability Services only provides support related to academic learning. Students who need other types of assistance should involve other agencies:
- Support with personal care will continue to be arranged by your local authority, i.e. Leeds City Council. Please note: you will need to contact your local home authority for further information.
- Leeds University Union (LUU) offers free, confidential and impartial advice on finances, including applying for state benefits. For more information, please visit LUU's student help and support page.
- The Accommodation team at the University has obligations as a landlord to support students to ensure University accommodation meets your needs. For more information, please visit our accommodation site.
- The University Finance team provide guidance on the support available around finance and funding outside of Disability Services. For more information, please visit our finance page.
- Student Counselling and Wellbeing also provide emotional, psychological and mental health support.
Got a question of your own?
Email email@example.com to arrange a call back with a member of staff.