What is disclosure?
Disclosing a disability is the formal term given to informing the University that you have a disability, long-term medical condition or specific learning difficulty, such as dyslexia, that has a substantial effect on your day-to-day life and may affect your ability to study.
Disclosing a disability is not compulsory and many students with disabilities find that they are able to cope with the demands of their course of study without support or by using the anticipatory adjustments that the University has in place for all students. If, however, you would like to have individualized adjustments put in place for you, you must make a formal disclosure to the University, either on your application form or by contacting the Disability & Dyslexia Team and making an appointment. This can be done at any time during your course.
You will need to provide medical evidence to support your request and the standard of this must comply with the information given in our ‘standards of information’ guide. This evidence will provide the Disability & Dyslexia Team with the information it requires to put appropriate support in place. The level of information requested will also enable those eligible to apply for the Disabled Students' Allowances, which is the main source of funding for disability-related study support costs at higher education level.
Will making a disclosure prevent me being given an offer of a place on a course?
Absolutely not. Offers of places are made on academic merit in line with our admissions policy, although there may be extremely rare cases when it is not possible for sufficient reasonable adjustments to be put in place to help a student to meet a particular competence standard.
Rather than preventing you being given an offer of a place on a course, disclosing a disability ensures that you have access to all the information you need to ensure that you have chosen the right course for you and that reasonable adjustments can be put in place to help you to complete the course to the best of your abilities. Once you have disclosed a disability, your course tutors and the Disability & Dyslexia Team can work with you to identify the reasonable adjustments you need to be able to access your course. You can also apply for Disabled Students' Allowances, which may result in you being given funding for specialist equipment or study related support from support workers such as note-takers etc. to help facilitate your study.
If, in the unlikely event, a competence standard is identified that you may struggle to meet with adjustments in place, this empowers you as it allows you to make an informed decision about whether you would wish to consider a different course or a different institution (UCAS allows students with disabilities who find that they cannot meet a competence to go back into the pool and choose an alternative institution which may have different competence standards). Given the financial and emotional investment you will be making when selecting the correct course for you, disclosure provides you with the opportunity to ask all of the questions you want before you start your course. This is particularly important when there are practical elements of the course if your condition could affect your performance in these areas.
When can I disclose?
We would encourage disclosure on application wherever possible as this allows time for the Disability & Dyslexia Team to contact you before you start your course and for you to apply for the Disabled Students’ Allowances (a process that can take up to 14 weeks) so that you have access to funding for disability-related study support at the start of your course.
If you did not disclose on application, however, you can disclose at any point in time during your course of studies by contacting the Disability & Dyslexia Team to make an appointment. We appreciate that many students do not feel that they need support when they start their course but that changes in their condition or the demands of the course can begin to have a negative impact once they are in attendance. If this happens, please do contact us as soon as you begin to experience difficulties so that we can discuss what support can be put in place for you. This may prevent problems from escalating.
Who will be given information if I disclose?
The Disability & Dyslexia Team provides a completely confidential service and any information such as diagnostic reports, medical evidence or DSA Needs Assessments that are received on your behalf will be held confidentially in line with the University’s Data Protection Policy.
If you would like to have individual adjustments put in place for you, the Disability & Dyslexia Team will need to inform the relevant staff across the institution who are responsible for arranging the adjustments. We do this by means of entering into a Learning Support Agreement (LSA) with you.
The LSA would contain those recommendations for reasonable adjustments that the University can put in place and you can then decide which of these adjustments you would like to have and authorize us to provide a copy of your LSA to the appropriate staff so that the support can be arranged. You will be asked to sign a consent form to authorize release of this information and any updates we may make if your needs change. Please note that should you decide to limit the dissemination of the LSA this may mean that it is not possible for certain adjustments to be put in place.