Three students sat on a bench chatting between lectures
Three students sat on a bench chatting between lectures

Who can we support?

This page provides a definition of disability, and gives examples of students who can be supported by the DAS.

DAS works with students who have a disability which meets the Equality Act 2010 criteria. This includes:

  • Sensory impairments such as those significantly affecting vision or hearing.  Visual impairment is sight that cannot be corrected using glasses or contact lenses. Hearing impairment is deafness or partial hearing.
  • Physical or mobility impairments, including musculoskeletal conditions such as arthritis, and scoliosis which lead to significant challenges with mobility (e.g. climbing stairs or uneven surfaces), or dexterity (e.g. using a keyboard or laboratory equipment).
  • Some mental health conditions that have a long-term and significant impact on daily life, such as clinical depression, schizophrenia or anxiety disorders.
  • Specific learning difficulties (SpLD) such as dyslexia, dyspraxia or ADHD.
  • Autistic spectrum conditions.
  • Genetic and progressive conditions, if the condition affects your ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities such as motor neurone disease and muscular dystrophy
  • Conditions which are characterised by several cumulative effects such as significant pain or fatigue
  • Medical conditions such as asthma, diabetes or Crohn’s Disease, if these have an significant effect on your day-to-day activities.
  • Long-term illnesses and health conditions, such as cancer, epilepsy, chronic heart disease, and autoimmune diseases like multiple sclerosis, HIV.

Under the Equality Act 2010 a person is considered disabled if they have a physical or mental impairment that has a substantial ('more than minor or trivial') and long-term (lasting or likely to last 12 months or more) adverse (negative) effect on their ability to carry out normal daily activities.  

‘Daily activities’ include things people tend to do on a regular or daily basis, such as shopping, reading and writing, getting washed and dressed, preparing and eating food, walking or travelling, and taking part in social activities.  They can also include study and education-related activities.  

Conditions of a fluctuating, recurring or progressive nature may be covered, and some diseases like cancer, HIV and multiple sclerosis are included immediately from initial diagnosis. People registered as blind or partially sighted are also automatically regarded as disabled under the Act.

We are not able to support students with temporary illnesses or injuries, or conditions which fall outside the Equality Act (2010) definition of a disability because they do not have a substantive impact. Some effects are not long-term and would therefore not be included, for example loss of mobility due to a broken leg which is likely to heal within 12 months.  Some impacts may only have a minor or limited impact, such as well controlled asthma.  You should contact your college doctor or senior tutor for advice on temporary college support.

Watch a series of videos of students discussing their experiences studying at Oxford with a disability:

If your needs or circumstances change or your support is not working, you can discuss making changes with the DAS. Whatever your concerns, stay in touch with your disability advisor, or your disability coordinator in your college or department. Let the DAS know about any questions, queries or concerns and they will do their best to help. 

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