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Registering and submitting evidence

What is classed as a disability and how to submit evidence

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.

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.

What to expect

Please declare your disability on your UCAS form or postgraduate application when you apply to University. The University can use this information to contact you before arrival to get the appropriate evidence from you, and to make sure support is in place when you start.

Please note - without a declaration of your condition on your application, the Disability Service will not be aware of your condition and this will 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.

If you have not already declared you can register online to let us know about your disability. (Please note - our applicant registration for 2019/20 is now closed. The new registration for 2020/21 will go live in February 2020 and will be available from this page.) If you are a current Lancaster student, please go to our Current Student registration page.

We will ask you to register to provide us with information and appropriate evidence of your condition (see below) which we will then use to produce an Inclusive Learning and Support Plan (ILSP). Please be sure to check your emails for any correspondence from us. 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 explains your disability and makes recommendations about academic support from your department. We will ask you to view, approve and agree to share your ILSP with the relevant staff in order to put support in place. Your ILSP is a living document, and you can ask us to update 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.

If you are a UK student, when you apply for Student Finance you can also apply for Disabled Students Allowance (DSA). DSA is a UK government fund that pays for some support for disabled students. This might include assistive technology, a specialist mentor, or a contribution towards other disability-related costs. 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

Most conditions can be evidenced by a doctor's note, but please see below to check what evidence is required for specific conditions.

It is important that your doctor’s letter states your diagnosis, the duration (or expected duration if it is newly diagnosed), and some details about how the condition affects you.

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.

  • Specific Learning Difficulties

    SpLDssuch 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 on the screening and assessments available to registered Lancaster students, please see our Current Students SpLD page

  • Mental Health

    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