Information for disabled applicants

Hello from Disability Services. We know that starting university may be daunting, especially if you have a disability. But don’t worry - we’re here.

Over 15% of the student body at Leeds is disabled – you are not alone. Welcome to our community.


Do you need help with:

  • Registering with Disability Services?

  • Applying for Disabled Students’ Allowance?

  • Providing evidence of your disability?

  • Anything else?

Arrange a call back with us. Call our team on 0113 343 3927 or email us on disability@leeds.ac.uk for a chat with a friendly advisor.


Step 1: Browse our helpful handbook

The Disability Services handbook (PDF) 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 (PDF) to find out how the process works.

Check your progress!

Our handy Disability Services 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.


Watch our online Q&A session

If you missed our online applicant event , watch our broadcast and revisit our Q&A here. Was your question not answered? Get in touch! Email us on disability@leeds.ac.uk to ask yours. 

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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 explaining the differences between school and university (PDF) and ensure that you feel supported in the transition from school to higher education.

The University of Leeds has created an online course called Skills to Succeed at University to help prepare you with the skills you may need to succeed at university. The course is free if completed within two weeks.


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. The LUU Neurodivergent 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 Student Network

LUU Disabled Student Network 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.

See what the Network is up to on the Disabled Student Network Facebook and Disabled Student Network Twitter pages.

Disability Services Student Panel

Our Disability Services 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. Find out what the Panel have achieved and 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 its 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 dont feel afraid that youre 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. Theres no denying university is tough, even more so when youre disabled.

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!


Disability Contacts

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.


Assistive Technology

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.


Accommodation

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 our information on getting support in accommodation to find out more about finding the right arrangements for you.


Got a question of your own?

Email disability@leeds.ac.uk to arrange a call back with a member of staff.