I am unsure if I qualify for support
Many people are unsure whether their particular area of difficulty is recognised as a 'disability'. Equally, many people with difficulties do not wish to be labelled as 'disabled'. Consequently, there is a risk that these people will not access the support they are entitled to. For reference, the Disability Discrimination Act defines a disabled person as:
... someone who has a physical or mental impairment that has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on his or her ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities.Disability Discrimination Act, 2005
Detailed guidance regarding the definition of disability can be found in the document: 'Guidance on matters to be taken into account in determining questions relating to the definition of disability' (pdf) published on the Equality and Human Rights Commission's website.
To help interpret this, within a higher education context, the definition covers such things as:
- physical disabilities
- specific learning differences (SpLDs)
- mental health problems
- medical conditions
If you are experiencing any of these you may be entitled to support. In particular, if you feel that your 'disability' will effect your ability to do any of the following, then we would strongly advise you speak to an adviser:
- Ability to attend lectures and to independently navigate own way around campus.
- Ability to adequately comprehend lecturers, record necessary information, process information and interact with peers within lectures.
- Ability to study independently.
- Ability to conduct own research.
- Ability to safely operate machinery and equipment as necessary.
- Ability to perform under pressure in timed assessments and examinations.
- Ability to maintain consistent effort in the production of academic work.
If you feel you will be disadvantaged in any aspect of your university life because of the above, we strongly urge you to contact DUSSD. Our advisers can help reassure you and explain the types of support available.
Advice from our students
"Don't be hesitant about identifying a 'disability'; even the most minor difficulty is considered fairly and positive action/strategies put in place quickly."
Lorraine, 1st year undergraduate