Disabled Network

Disabled network

The Disabled Student's Network is a safe space for any students self-identifying as disabled. The network exists to centre the voices of our disabled students and is an opportunity to connect with likeminded students.

The network is open to all those who identify as disabled, and all types of disabilities are welcome, such as physical disabilities, learning difficulties and mental health conditions.

Join our Disabled Students’ Network to make friends and campaign on the issues that affect you – from improving accessibility on campus to improved disability support. The Network campaigns to remove the stigma from all disabilities, challenge perceptions and remove the barriers that impact our access to education. Stay connected and join our Facebook group here:

For more information about this Network, contact Vice President Ffion Thomas: ffion.g.thomas@liverpool.ac.uk.

Am I ‘disabled enough’?

Bottom line is if you have any disability or self-identity as being a disabled person, or a person with a disability - then yes! There is still a stigma around people self-identifying as disabled, and often people don’t feel ‘disabled enough’ to identify with this term. This tends to especially affect those with hidden disabilities like Crohn’s; neurodivergent conditions such as autism; and mental health conditions. Regardless, our network is open to all disabled students.

Discrimination and Harassment

According to NUS in 2011, 43% of disabled students reported altering their behaviour, personal appearance or daily patterns in an attempt to avoid hate incidents. This often meant going out less, which in some cases led to respondents becoming socially withdrawn and isolated. Some tried to conceal their impairment, sometimes to the extent of causing themselves pain.

Cuts to Financial Support

The Disabled Students Allowance is currently available to students in the United Kingdom who have a disability, long-term health condition, mental health condition or specific learning difficult. Government cuts to the DSA jeopardise disabled students’ access and success in higher education.

  • Remove the charge for doctors notes that are required to apply for extenuating circumstances and disability support plans
  • University to act on its accessibility audit of campus
  • University to pay for students’ dyslexia tests (Educational Psychologists Assessments)

Aims and priorities for the network are outlined by the student members, which allows our work to be flexible and personalised. Our network also receives a commitment of funding and staff resource from the Guild.

Liverpool Guild’s Disability Society

The Disability Society is an inclusive community for disabled students and for those interested in raising awareness of disability related issues. They encourage students to meet, socialise and work to promote accessibility issues in academia.


Guild Advice Team

The Guild Advice Team is service independent of the University that offers free, confidential help to students in need. The team know relevant Policies inside-out and can help with advising on applying for extra help like Extenuating Circumstances (EC), Exemption from Late Penalties (ELP).


Disability Advice and Guidance

This is a department within the University of Liverpool’s Student Support Services, aimed at helping those with specific disability related issues. The team works to aid students in identifying and implementing reasonable adjustments, aiming to reduce the barriers disability raises as much as possible.

They can also support in making DSA applications. https://www.liverpool.ac.uk/studentsupport/disability/

Disabled Students Allowance

This is a Government grant that helps disabled students with the financial impacts of their disability. Students apply via their appropriate Student Finance Company (depending on which country in the UK is home) and will then be invited for a Needs Assessment. This is an informal interview to identify specific needs and determine the appropriate level of funding. For example, if you needed specialised computer software, a BSL interpreter or to help cover travel costs.


Disability and Dyslexia Contacts (DDCs)

These are University staff members who specialise in supporting disabled students from a more academic perspective. There are nominated DDCs in each School or Department, and an up-to-date list of these contacts is on the webiste. DDCs can help in implementing reasonable adjusmtents within the teaching environment.


Disabled Students’ Commission The Office for Students are the independent regulator of Higher Education in England. They’ve established the Disabled Students’ Commission, a new, independent and strategic group to advise, inform and influence higher education providers to improve support for disabled students.


National Union of Students Officer

The NUS (National Union of Students) is lead by elected Officers, and Sara Khan is the NUS’ first ever Vice President of Liberation and Equality, a new role created as part of NUS reform. She/they also support(s) the NUS Disabled student campaigners network, which seeks to support disabled students in affecting change on a local and national level.



Mencap are a charity focused on improving the lives of people with learning disabilities. Their work strives towards making the world which is inclusive, values and listens to people with learning disabilities.



Scope are charity who strive for a society where all disabled people enjoy equality and fairness. They provide practical advice and emotional support, also champion the social model of disability.


Theory - The Social Model of Disability

The Social model of disability is a theory, a way of looking at the world through a particular lens. It states that an individual is not disabled, instead it is the world around them that is disabling. Barriers society includes can be physical, such as inaccessible buildings or cultural, such as people’s attitudes and prejudice. Equality for disabled people would begin with removing these barriers. Some consider this to be a controversial theory, so it’s down to individuals to choose how they frame their impairments.

ore information: https://www.scope.org.uk/about-us/social-model-of-disability/
Addressing the language around the Social Model: https://disabilityarts.online/magazine/opinion/disabled-people-not-people-disabilities/

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  • The Shifting Perspectives Podcast
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  • Disability After Dark
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