The University of Huddersfield is proud to have been accredited as a Disability Confident Employer.
To achieve Disability Confident Employer status, the University has signed up to the following commitments:
According to the Equality Act 2010, Disability is defined as a physical or mental impairment that has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on the ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities. This can mean different things to different people, but may include:
Long-term means that the condition has lasted, or is likely to last for more than 12 months.
Substantial means more than minor or trivial e.g. it takes much longer that it usually would to complete a daily task, like getting dressed or leaving the house.
Neurodiversity refers to the different ways the brain can work and interpret information. We all have different brains, different ways of thinking and behaving, however the majority of us are considered 'neurotypical', meaning that the brain functions and processes information in the way that society expects. Judy Singer, an Australian sociologist, coined the term neurodiversity to promote equality and inclusion of "neurological minorities." When referencing those who are considered to be in the neurological minority, people tend to use the term Neurodivergence, which has now become an umbrella term to emcompass many different neurological differences, including ADHD, Autism and specific learning difficulties (e.g. Dyslexia, Dyspraxia, Dyscalculia).
The language we use can reinforce negative stereotypes, or it can challenge them. It is important that there is consistency in the language we use when discussing neurodiversity, as clarity of language supports clarity of understanding. Below are some key terms often refrenced when we talk about neurodiversity:
Neurodiversity refers to the diversity of human brains and minds. It includes people who are neurotypical and neurodivergent.
Neurodivergence defines brains that function and experience the world in ways different to the dominant, ‘neurotypical’, brain.
Neurodivergent is used to describes an individual whose way of thinking falls outside of society’s defined version of normal.
Neurotypicality refers to the dominant neurotype – previously considered to be the ‘standard’ brain
Neurominority is a term is used to refer to a specific group of individuals who can be grouped together based on the shared similar characteristics of their neurodivergence.
It is estimated that around 1 in 7 people (more than 15% of people in the UK) are neurodivergent, meaning that the brain functions, learns and processes information differently to what society deems the 'standard' way of thinking (neurotypicality). The term encapsulates many neurological differences and specific learning differences which you can learn more about from the resources below
As a university, we endeavour to be accessible, inclusive and to remove barriers for all. It is important that we deliver a positive experience, if you require any reasonable adjustments or have any accessibility needs, please speak to your line manager and we will consider any reasonable adjustments in conjunction with the recommendations made by Occupational Health. Any requests will be dealt with in confidence.
The University welcomes and supports the development of staff networks. Our staff networks provide an opportunity for staff who share a protected characteristic to network, obtain peer support and share information. They can also offer opportunities for staff to inform university policy on equality-related issues and topics. The networks are run by and for the members, with support from the University EDI Officer.
The Staff Disability Network was formed in October 2018. Members come from across the University and from a variety of roles and the network is always looking for new members and ideas. Please take a look at the terms of reference and contact the Chair if you are interested in joining or would like to find out a bit more about the network, including future meeting dates.
In July 2023, we launched a Neurodiversity Staff Group as a peer support network for staff members who are, or think they may be neurodivergent (e.g. Specific Learning Differences (Dyslexia, Dyspraxia, Dyscalculia), AD(H)D and Autism Spectrum Conditions). The group aims to provide a safe space to connect, explore shared experiences, and discuss supportive strategies and approaches.
If you would like to join, please email the EDI team.
“Digital accessibility is the process of making digital content and services accessible to everyone. It is about providing all users equal access to the same information, regardless of any impairments they may have.” (World Wide Web Consortium (W3C))
Digital accessibility may sound like it is something complicated, but it is not. Read the Digital Accessibility Teaching and Learning Innovation Park to learn about the six key considerations when creating accessible content.
You can also read up on good practice around Creating Inclusive Emails and Documents to help make simple adjustments to the way you create your emails and produce documents to ensure that information is accessible.
Microsoft also provides information to help Improve accessibility with the Accessibility Checker as well as specific guidance around Improving copy and paste of URLs.