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Durham University Service for Students with Disabilities


Definition of Disability

To clarify, under the Disability Discrimination Act (2005), a disability is defined as: 

Someone who has a physical or mental impairment that has a substantial and long-term 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.  

We have provided the following list of disabilities, specific learning differences (SpLDS), mental health problems and medical conditions to try to give an insight into the wide range of conditions students may present with. This is not however, an exhaustive list and queries regarding conditions not listed should always be directed to DUSSD.  

Specific Learning Differences (not including Autistic Spectrum Conditions)

Useful Links

Developmental Adult Neuro-Diversity Association (DANDA)

Dyslexia Action

Autistic Spectrum Conditions 

  • Atypical Autism
  • Autistic Spectrum Condition (ASC) 
  • Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) 
  • Autism 
  • Asperger Syndrome 
  • High Functioning Autism (HFA) 
  • Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) 
  • Pervasive Developmental Disorder - Not Otherwise Specified (PDD - NOS) 
  • Semantic Pragmatic Disorder

Useful Links

The National Autistic Society


  • D/deaf, Deafblind and Hearing Impaired 
  • Blind and Visually Impaired 
  • Meares-Irlen Syndrome (Scotopic Sensitivity)

Mental Health Problems

  • Depression 
  • Bipolar Disorder 
  • Psychotic Depression 
  • Panic Disorder 
  • Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD) 
  • Acute Stress Disorder (ASD) 
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) 
  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
  • Self-Harm 
  • Anorexia Nervosa 
  • Bulimia Nervosa 
  • Binge Eating Disorder
  • Schizophrenia
  • Schizoaffective Disorder 

Medical Conditions

  • Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)
  • Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME)
  • Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
  • Diabetes
  • Epilepsy
  • Cystic Fibrosis
  • Cancer
  • HIV
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
  • Crohn's Disease