What is a Disability?


‘Disability’ is an umbrella term that encompasses things like dyslexia, autism, physical differences, mental health challenges and long term health conditions.;

In UK law disability is defined as “a physical or mental impairment which has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on a person’s ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities”

In this definition “substantial” refers to having a significant impact on a daily task and “long term” means 12 months or more.

The University embraces the social model of disability. The social model identifies that the challenges that an individual may experience are not caused by a specific ‘disability or by the disabled person but are instead, a result of barriers within society. As an example, the lack of access to a lift or a ramp for a wheelchair user or no access to a text-to-speech tool for a neurodiverse student is disabling. Barriers in society can most often be removed through the implementation of reasonable adjustments.




The Equality Act 2010 says that organisations such as the University must make “reasonable adjustments” to remove barriers that would mean that a disabled student was not able to fully participate in education, facilities and other services provided for students. At Arden, we work hard to put individual reasonable adjustments in place for disabled students. This can include adjustments to examinations, building accessibility and teaching and learning resources.


Changes in Terminology 

You may have received support from your sixth form or Further Education College where they may have used terminology such as “SEN” or “SEND” or “Additional learning needs”. While we don’t use this terminology at Arden, you will find similar support and services are available to you from the Inclusion Services Team. 


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