Disability Confident 

 

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:

  • Actively looking to attract and recruit disabled people
  • Providing a fully inclusive and accessible recruitment process 
  • Offer an interview to disabled people who meet the minimum criteria for the job 
  • Be flexible when assessing people so disabled job applicants have the best opportunity to demonstrate that they can do the job
  • Proactively offer and make reasonable adjustments as required
  • Encourage our suppliers and partner firms to be Disability Confident
  • Ensure employees have appropriate disability equality awareness
  • Promote a culture of being Disability Confident
  • Support employees to manage their disabilities or health conditions
  • Ensure there are no barriers to the development and progression of disabled staff
  • Ensure managers are aware of how they can support staff who are sick or absent from work
  • Value and listen to feedback from disabled staff
  • Review our Disability Confident self-assessment regularly 

What is a Disability?

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 health conditions (such as cancer, epilepsy, HIV, diabetes, chronic fatigue syndrome or arthritis).
  • Sensory impairments
  • Mobility difficulties
  • Mental health difficulties (such as anxiety and depression)
  • Autistic spectrum condition.
  • Learning difficulties
  • ADHD
  • Dyslexia.

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.


What is Neurodiversity?

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). 

 

Neurodiversity in the population

  • 90% of disabilities are invisible
  • 5% of the population have ADHD
  • 1-2% of the population is autistic
  • 10% of the population are dyslexic
  • 5% of the population are dyspraxic
  • 1-2% of the population have Tourette Syndrome
  • 7 % of the population have mental health needs
  • 5% of the population have an acquired brain injury

 

Why is language important?

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.

 

Understanding 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

 

ADHD resources 

ADHD Foundation

Employers Guide to ADHD in the Workplace

ADHD sucks, but not really

How to ADHD

ADHD As A Difference In Cognition, Not A Disorder 

ADHD – different in girls, different in women

The lost girls: ‘Chaotic and curious, women with ADHD all have missed red flags that haunt us’

 

Autism resources

What is Autism? Genius Within

How Hannah Gadsby's High-Functioning Autism Works

Why everything you know about autism is wrong | Jac den Houting

Could you stand the rejection? National Autistic Society

 

Dyslexia Resources

Creating a Dyslexia Friendly Workplace | BDA

Dyslexia and Reasonable Adjustments

Advantages of thinking differently

Dyslexia in Adults  

The True Gifts of a Dyslexic Mind

 

 


Reasonable Adjustments 

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. 


Staff Disability Network

 

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.

Staff Disability Network Terms of Reference

Stephen Howe (Co-Chair) and Georgia Vine (Co-Chair)


Neurodiversity Staff Group

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.

The Neurodiversity Group is Co-Chaired by Simon Kelly and Erika Montgomery.

If you would like to join, please email the EDI team


Guidance

 

“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.