The Act defines a disabled person as follows.
... if he has a physical or mental impairment which has a substantial and long-term adverse effect upon his ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities.
(DDA, Part 1, section 1)
This definition includes people with sight, hearing, mobility, manual dexterity or speech impairment. It also includes those with a specific learning difficulty such as dyslexia, a mental health difficulty, or a disabling medical condition. Institutions are expected to take reasonable steps to find out if a person is disabled.
The meaning of ‘student’ is also very wide. It includes
Applicants and potential students include those attending open days or interviews, and enquirers receiving a prospectus or information about programmes of study.
There are also many students who, while not meeting the legal definition of disabled, are nevertheless disabled within the context of HE. Students do not have to be disabled according to the DDA definition in order to get the Disabled Students' Allowance (DSA). So for example, many students with specific learning difficulties and some students with mental health difficulties might not be disabled under the DDA but would nevertheless be able to apply for the DSA.
Discrimination against disabled applicants or students can take place by
Students are advised first to go through their institution’s complaints procedure. If this does not resolve the issue they then contact the Office for the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education.
The disabled applicant or student can also take a complaint against their institution to the County Court. If the complaint of discrimination is upheld the court may issue an injunction, make a declaration regarding the rights and responsibilities of the parties involved, and award compensation to the disabled person.
The Disability Rights Commission (DRC) has set up a service to reconcile any differences informally where both parties agree to conciliation.