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Registering and Providing Evidence of a Disability

What is classed as a disability?

A disability is a long-term condition (lasting more than 12 months) which has a significant impact on your ability to live and study at University. This includes conditions such as diabetes, dyslexia, anxiety and autism spectrum disorder.

What to expect

You can tell us about a disability or health condition at any point in your studies, but the sooner you can tell us, the better. If you wait until the last minute to let us know about a condition, we may not have time to put support in place for you.

When you register with us we will ask you to provide appropriate evidence of your condition (see below) which we will then use to produce an Inclusive Learning and Support Plan (ILSP). 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. The ILSP makes recommendations about academic support from your department. We will ask you to view and approve your ILSP via your student portal, then confirm you wish to share it with your department. Your ILSP is a living document, and you can ask us to change it if your needs change.

You may also be invited in for a Lancaster Support review (LSR) in order to look at what other provision you may find helpful in supporting your academic studies.

We can also advise you about how to apply for Disabled Students Allowance (DSA). DSA is a government fund that pays for some support for disabled students. This might include assistive technology or a specialist mentor. DSA is assessed on your individual needs, and you will need to attend an assessment to determine the most appropriate support.

What evidence do I need?

Select from the below options to find out more


It is important that your evidence states the name of your condition, the duration (or expected duration if it is newly diagnosed), and some details about how the condition affects you. Your condition must last (or be expected to last) at least 12 months.


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 LU Disability Evidence form to help you to get the evidence you need.


  • 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.  Our SPLD INFORMATION PAGE will explain more about our QuickScan screening tool and obtaining a full diagnosis.

  • Mental Health Difficulties

    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 Counselling and 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

    Social/ Communication Conditions are life-long conditions which are classed as a disability. We need to see a doctor's letter and, if possible, a report detailing how you experience your condition. The more detail we have, the better we can assess your needs. If you have Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) you might like to visit our Transitions Team webpages to find out about pastoral support.   

  • 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

    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

    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. 

Disability Service, Student Wellbeing Services, University House, Lancaster, LA1 4YW - 01524 592111