Support for impairments

Find out more about how we can support students with different impairments.

Who we support

UWE Bristol’s Disability Service provides advice and support to prospective and current students.

We know that not everyone who accesses our services thinks of themselves as disabled, but we use the term because it is used in the Equality Act. In the Equality Act, a disability means a physical or a mental condition which has a substantial and long-term impact on your ability to do normal day-to-day activities.

You are covered by the Equality Act if you have a progressive condition such as HIV, cancer or multiple sclerosis, even if you are currently able to carry out normal day-to-day activities.

We support students with a range of conditions, including:

  • specific learning differences (SpLDs) such as dyslexia and dyspraxia
  • autism
  • neurodiversity
  • D/deaf, hard of hearing
  • visual impairment
  • mental health conditions
  • mobility impairment
  • long-term health conditions such as epilepsy or chronic fatigue syndrome.

Submit your evidence

The University encourages all applicants and students to disclose any disability and support needs they might have. Without this information, we would be unable to offer you the appropriate information, guidance and support to enable you to access your studies.

So we can provide you with support and reasonable adjustments, please submit appropriate evidence for your disability or medical condition to Alternatively, you can submit your evidence using our online enquiry form.

Please do not send your evidence by post.

Appropriate evidence

Appropriate evidence required is outlined below. You can submit your evidence at any time and we will be in touch with you.

Evidence overview

A GP/Consultant letter is appropriate evidence. How recent your evidence needs to be will depend on your impairment or medical condition. Please send any evidence you have and we will advise you if you need something different or more up to date.

Your evidence should contain:

  • confirmation that you have a physical impairment or mental health condition that has a substantial and long-term negative effect on your ability to carry out normal daily activities
  • the length of time the condition or impairment has been present and whether it is likely to last for a long time
  • effects on study that are observed or predicted at this time for example any mobility issues, sleep disturbance resulting in fatigue, concentration problems, lack of motivation, difficulties with taking notes etc.

Covering the cost

All applicants and students are required to meet the costs of any reports or letters.

What if I don't have evidence or I am awaiting diagnosis?

Please don’t let lack of evidence or diagnosis stop you from contacting us about reasonable adjustments. We know that delays to diagnosis and medical evidence happen. We do want your evidence, if you have it, so that we can more deeply understand your requirements.


If you are eligible, Disabled Students' Allowances (DSAs) are provided by your funding body. Depending on your needs, DSAs funding may cover such things as one-to-one study skills tuition, one-to-one mentoring, assistive technology (equipment and software) etc. We strongly recommend that you apply for DSAs if you are eligible.

Please apply at least three months before you start your course so that you can get everything in place for when you start. It is okay to apply after this time, but your support and equipment might not be ready for the start of your course. You can apply for DSAs at any time during your course.

DSA is non-means tested and you don’t need to pay it back. It is available alongside any other funding you may receive.

Find out more about DSAs

Once your funding body confirms you are eligible for support, a trained assessor will carry out an assessment of needs to establish what support and equipment you need. This assessment can be booked using the DSA study needs assessment centre postcode search

If you are not eligible for funding from DSAs and/or you are an international student, UWE Bristol may be able to help you with study support. For more information contact Disability Service.

Reasonable adjustments

We make reasonable adjustments to help reduce the effect of an impairment or medical condition that places you at a substantial disadvantage in your learning, teaching or assessment situation. For example, adjustments to assessments such as extra time, use of a computer or alternative assessment.

We are happy to talk with you about your reasonable adjustments, which can change as you go through your course. Please contact us using our enquiry form in the first instance.

Find out how to request adjustments

When applying for reasonable adjustments, you should write an impact statement which can provide more information to your teaching team about the impact of your impairment. Your impact statement is the only information, in addition to UCAS disability type and reasonable adjustments, that is routinely shared with teaching staff and you can update it any time.

"The Disability Service have helped me since my very first day at University, ensuring that I always had the right support. They were easy to get in touch with and it was safe space without any judgement and prejudice – without their help in organising things such as extensions, I would not have achieved First Class Honours in my degree."

Camilo, First Class Honours in Software Engineering
Read Camilo's story

Camilo First Class Honours in Software Engineering

Having always had an interest in computers, I knew a BSc Software Engineering for Business (Hons) degree was the path I wanted to take. However, being a full-time wheelchair user, I personally saw that University would be too much of a hassle and that I wouldn’t be well supported. That all changed when I discovered UWE Bristol though.

UWE Bristol’s teams including the Disability Service and Accommodation engaged with me right from the start and ensured that I always had the right support. Facing some personal medical issues in the second and third year of University meant that my time and brain space was otherwise occupied and I chatted with the Disability Service who were the most accommodating – they did not judge and made sure that everything was dealt with swiftly. Due to all of their support in obtaining extensions and liaising with my academic staff, I achieved First Class Honours in my degree.

I am now going to work for Expedia Group in London as a Product Manager which I am really looking forward to! I want to end this by saying that if you feel like university may seem out of your reach or you are currently struggling, please don’t be afraid to get in touch with the Disability Service – they are more than willing to help and are have some of the most approachable and compassionate human beings that you could ever come across!

"What I enjoy most about UWE Bristol is the positive and supportive atmosphere created by everyone, from the disability advisers to the academic staff. This makes me feel included and welcome."

Elina, BSc(Hons) Psychology
Read Elina's story

Elina BSc(Hons) Psychology

Elina has overcome a variety of obstacles to pass her exams with flying colours while achieving a Grade 5 in practical musicianship.

Elina was always fascinated about the human mind and passionate about finding out how others solve problems. So a degree course in Psychology seemed the logical thing to do. Despite being disabled – she was born blind – and other challenging situations, Elina has excelled herself. Parallel to studying for her degree, Elina pursued her love for music and wants to use this combination in a career in music therapy.

Elina’s future plans include, “a counselling or research doctorate and to pass knowledge and understanding as well as peaceful thinking to as many people as possible.”

Study support

The support and equipment you will receive at the University is normally decided through your Disabled Students' Allowances (DSAs) Study Needs Assessment. Depending on your support needs, the following may be applicable to you:

  • Access to support such as note-takers, orientation support and British Sign language (BSL) interpreters through our dedicated Support Worker Service 
  • Specialist mentoring support and specialist study support 
  • Assistance with travel to the University
  • Radio aids or portable loop systems
  • Alternative formats of library books and course materials through our Library Alternative Formats Service 
  • Provision of assistive technology (equipment and software)
  • Exam adjustments such as scribes, readers, prompts etc

You should also look at the range of university study skills support as well as Peer Assisted Learning (PAL) sessions.

For advice about what to do if you need support or equipment but are not eligible for DSAs please visit the Disabled Student Allowances page.

Emergency evacuation

While on University premises, you must be able to leave buildings safely in the event of a fire or other emergency.

If you cannot evacuate yourself in an emergency situation and need help to make a safe exit, or if you want to know how your evacuation would work, please contact your Programme Leader. They can set up a personal emergency evacuation plan (PEEP) with you that is tailored to your needs.

If you require a vibrating fire alarm, please contact the Disability Service.


Find out about accommodation for students with additional needs in our guidance for applicants and future students. If you need adaptations or other adjustments to your UWE Bristol accommodation, please let Accommodation Services know as soon as possible.

Emotional support animals

If you have or are planning on bringing an emotional support animal to UWE Bristol, and you have not yet spoken to Disability Service about this, please use our contact form to talk to us about this.

Transfer your healthcare or personal support

If you have assistance to support your independent living at home, or think you may need this type of support when you move to university, please contact your local authority's Social Services department well in advance of starting your course. Remember that you'll need to transfer any health services that you currently use or request a social care assessment if you think you may require support when living away from home.

If you are accessing support from NHS mental health services, we would recommend that you talk to your care coordinator or consultant about referral to local NHS services if they feel that you need to continue receiving support while at university. We would recommend that these referrals/transfers of care take place before you arrive at university to make sure that you avoid a gap in support. We would also recommend that you register with a local GP as soon as you arrive.

If you are accessing support from an external provider such Guide Dogs for the Blind, or RNIB sighted guide support, UWE Bristol can work with you to integrate this support.

Please note: The Disabled Students’ Allowances do not fund support that is directly medical or personal-care related. This continues to be provided by health or social services departments.

Parking and campus accessibility

All campuses also have wide, disabled bays and the University operates an accessible parking permit scheme. To find out more about accessible parking and to obtain car parking permits, please visit the car parking pages.

Frenchay Campus has many accessible features, including lifts to different levels, automatic doors and clearly marked accessible routes. Other UWE Bristol campuses are also accessible; however, due to the age of the buildings, there may be some minor navigational issues.

We encourage you to visit the campus where your course will be based, as this should help you judge whether you will need some orientation support or further adjustments such as to timetabling.

Useful resources

You may also find the following websites helpful:

There is also information about what else you might want to consider on the AdvanceHE website.

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