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Disclosing a Disability

From experience, we know that some students or prospective students are reluctant to disclose a disability because they fear that it might prejudice their application or result in them being treated differently by university staff.  Please be assured that this is not the case, indeed, it would be unlawful for a university to discriminate against a student or a prospective student for a disability-related reason.

There are many benefits to disclosure, but you can request that no information about your disability is passed on to others. However, you should be aware that if you do this it may restrict/adversely affect the level of support the university or placement provider can offer you and could limit the types of adjustments which can be put in place.

You should also be aware that even if you have asked for information about your disability not to be passed on to any other members of staff, there could be certain instances where this may still have to be done for reasons of health and safety or emergency.

Your consent to information regarding your disability being disclosed will be valid until the completion of your academic studies at MMU. However, you may withdraw your consent at any time by contacting the Disability Service. Any medical evidence submitted by you will remain on our records. All evidence will be securely destroyed 3 years after you complete your programme, in line with the University's record management framework.

Although we encourage students to disclose a disability so that they can then access the additional support that they are entitled to, we fully respect any student's right not to do so. If you want to discuss the implications of disclosing a disability before making a decision about whether to formally disclose, you can arrange to see a Learning Development Adviser, who will be able to advise you in complete confidence to help you to make your decision.

Disability and your rights

Under the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA 1995), a person is considered to be disabled if they have a 'physical or mental impairment which has a

1. substantial
2. adverse
3. and long term [i.e. lasting, or expected to last, for 12 months or more] effect on his or her ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities.

In the context of Higher Education this definition includes a person with dyslexia or other specific learning difficulties.

If you are unsure about whether or not you would be considered disabled, an adviser in the Disability Service will be able to advise you, in confidence.  If you would prefer to discuss this with someone outside of the University, you can contact the Equality and Human Rights Commission.

Part IV of the DDA places four duties on educational institutions:

1. to anticipate the needs of disabled students
2. not to treat disabled students less favourably for a reason relating to their disability
3. to make reasonable adjustments for disabled students
4. to provide any necessary auxiliary aids and services

From September 2005 universities have had a new duty to ensure that the physical environment is fully accessible to disabled people. At MMU many changes have already been made to improve access for disabled people.

In October 2010 the Equality Act became law. It replaces previous legislation, such as the Disability Discrimination Act 1995.The Equality Act 2010 aims to protect disabled people and prevent disability discrimination. It provides legal rights for disabled people in areas including education. For more information please see the EHRC (Equalities and Human Rights Commission’s website: http://www.equalityhumanrights.com/legal-and-policy/equality-act/

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