Download a copy of our supporting evidence form
Registering with the Disability and Inclusive Practice Service
CURRENT STUDENTS: To declare a disability, our CURRENT STUDENT registration is here. (You must be signed in to your university account)
APPLICANTS: If you are joining us for the 2024/25 academic year, our applicant registration will be available here from February 2024. Please note, if you have declared a disability within your university application portal (UCAS etc) we may be in touch directly asking you to register with us.
What do we mean by disability?
The Equality Act (2010) defines a disability as a long-term condition (lasting more than 12 months) which has a significant impact on your ability to live and study at University. The Disability and Inclusive Practice Service support students with a range of disabilities and health conditions including (but not limited to):
- autism spectrum conditions or Asperger's syndrome;
- dyslexia, dyspraxia and other specific learning difficulties;
- mental health difficulties;
- mobility impairments;
- sensory impairments;
- unseen (hidden) disabilities like epilepsy and chronic fatigue.
Please be reassured that Universities will not discriminate against you because of a disability or health condition. We ask you to let us know so we can ensure that you get the right support during your studies.
Why does the university need to know about your disability or health condition?
If you have a disability or health condition the University will make reasonable adjustments to ensure that disabled students are not placed at a ‘substantial disadvantage’ in relation to their non-disabled peers. The University is not required to make adjustments if this will compromise the academic, medical or other ‘competence standards’ of the degree programme.
If you intend to apply to live on campus, we can prioritise your application for accommodation. You will need to notify us of any special circumstances regarding your disability, medical condition and allergies when you apply. You should advise us about any such needs as early as possible by registering with the Disability and Inclusive Practice Service to maximise the possibility of us finding a suitable room.
When and how should you disclose a disability or health condition?
You can tell us about your disability during your university application, ordinarily this would be declared on your UCAS form or postgraduate application. The University can use this information to contact you before arrival as setting up support at University can take time and you will need to provide medical evidence and register with the Disability and Inclusive Practice Service. If you did not disclose at the point of application, you can still do so by registering with the Disability and Inclusive Practice Service. Registration with the Disability and Inclusive Practice Service provides:
- An opportunity to disclose a disability or health condition if you didn’t do so during the application process.
- Further information that will help us to understand more about your individual circumstances and will help to ensure we are able to produce an Inclusive Learning and Support Plan (ILSP) that outlines appropriate adjustments that should be in place to support your academic studies.
- Submitting a copy of your medical evidence and other relevant documents. This includes your Disabled Students Allowance (DSA) Needs Assessment report, if you have one.
Please note - without a declaration of your condition on your application, the Disability and Inclusive Practice Service will not be aware of your condition and this may delay the implementation of any support plan until you get in touch with us. This includes postgraduate applicants who may have previously studied at Lancaster as an undergraduate - any previous support is not automatically transferred to your PG course.
What if I don’t want to disclose a disability or health condition to the university?
We understand that there are many reasons why a student may choose not to disclose a disability and there is no obligation on you to do so. In general, it is in your best interests to disclose your disability so that bespoke /tailored support can be provided and staff will better understand how to make teaching and learning more accessible for you.
If you decide against disclosing your disability this means the University will not put adjustments in place to support your studies.
You can change your mind and chose to disclose your disability / medical condition to the University and have reasonable adjustments considered.
What evidence do you need about my disability/health condition?
It can be difficult for students when moving to university as evidence that has been acceptable in school or college does not always meet the criteria required to make adjustments at university. For example, the University is unable to accept reports from school support coordinators, SENs or exam board access arrangements as evidence of a disability or the need for specific adjustments.
Your medical evidence must be:
- Provided by a qualified medical professional (e.g. GP, consultant, specialist nurse) or other suitable professionals (such as Educational Psychologists, Audiologists etc.). See the expandable list below for details of what is acceptable.
- On headed paper with the professional's contact details
- As up-to-date as possible
- Clearly state that your diagnosis has a substantial and long-term negative impact on your ability to do normal daily activities
Please note: Normally we would expect that your medical evidence is written in English. Where a certified translation into English is required it is the student's responsibility for arranging this and for paying any associated costs.
In line with the UK General Medical Council's guidance, we would not normally accept medical evidence which is produced by a close relative, friend or work colleague, even if they are medically qualified.
Medical evidence is expected to cover the following points:
- Name of the condition or impairment
- Date of diagnosis and how long it has lasted/is likely to last
- The main effects (including the severity) of the impairment on studies and carrying out normal day-to-day activities including symptoms; this can include the side effects of any medication and also a description of the effect of the impairment without medication or auxiliary aids.
Please be aware that the University can only make adjustments based on a clear recommendation from the professional providing the evidence. The University is unable to make adjustments based solely on a student’s statement about the benefits of a particular adjustment previously in place.
You can download a copy of our Guidance for Medical Professionals and the Supporting Evidence form to help you get the evidence you need.
Most conditions can be evidenced by a doctor's note, but please see below to check what evidence is required for specific conditions.
Select from the below options to find out more specific information about evidence required.
Specific Learning Difficulties
SpLDs, such as dyslexia, dyspraxia and dyscalculia can have a significant impact on your studies. To put support in place we need to see supporting evidence of your condition. If you have dyslexia we will need to see a ‘diagnostic assessment’ from a practitioner psychologist or suitably qualified specialist teacher. For some SpLDs such as dyspraxia a doctor’s letter will be sufficient. If you are unsure of whether you have the correct evidence please get in touch.
ADD/ ADHD is often grouped together with SpLDs and impacts on attention and behaviour. This can be evidenced by a doctor’s note. For more information about obtaining a diagnosis, please see our ADHD & ASD Diagnoses page.
For more information on the screening and assessments available to registered Lancaster students, please see our Current Students SpLD page
Mental Health Difficulties such as anxiety, depression and bi-polar disorder can all fall under the banner of ‘disability’. Short-term changes in mood (for example, due to a bereavement) are not usually classed as a disability, but this may change if the condition lasts for 12 months or more. We need to see a letter from a medical practitioner stating the diagnosis and expected duration. If you are experiencing a short-term period of low mood you can seek support through the Student Mental Health Team.
If you are receiving NHS support for your mental health, you should ensure that this care is transferred into the local area in time for your arrival at Lancaster University. Speak to your care provider to arrange this.
- Social/ Communication Conditions
Long-term/ Chronic Illnesses
Long-term/ chronic illnesses including diabetes, cancer, HIV, and cystic fibrosis can have an impact on your ability to live and study at university. It is important that you share your diagnosis with us so that we can review any support for your studies. A doctor’s letter is sufficient for this.
Visual impairments can be evidenced by a doctor’s letter. It is helpful for the letter to tell us the exact nature of your visual impairment, as this will help us to understand what support you might require. We may need to work with you to create a Personal Emergency Evacuation Plan (PEEP) to ensure that in the event of a fire you can evacuate safely.
Hearing impairments can be evidenced by a doctor’s letter. It is helpful if the letter contains information about the nature of your hearing impairment as it can take some time to arrange support (for example BSL interpreters). We may need to work with you to create a Personal Emergency Evacuation Plan (PEEP) to ensure that in the event of a fire you can evacuate safely.
A Physical Condition Affecting Mobility
A physical condition affecting mobility may mean that you require adapted accommodation or accessible parking on campus. It can take time for us to make these adaptations, so please let us know your requirements as soon as you can. We require a doctor’s letter and it is helpful to provide us with as much information as possible about your disability. We may need to work with you to create a Personal Emergency Evacuation Plan (PEEP) to ensure that in the event of a fire you can evacuate safely.
If you require Personal Care, you must arrange this yourself before you arrive at Lancaster University. If you are a UK student you may be able to arrange this through Social Services. Please ensure you allow adequate time for this to be arranged before your arrival as the university cannot provide Personal Care support.