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Disability Narratives

One place to go for support and advice is the University’s Staff Disability Advisor (see Resources). They offer a confidential service and you do not need a referral from your manager, occupational health or department to contact the advisor. As well as supporting disabled people at the university, the Advisor can help people who do not identify as disabled but who have long term physical and mental health conditions. Line managers and HR staff are welcome to contact the Advisor for advice in managing members of staff with disabilities or long-term health conditions. The Advisor also coordinates the Disabled Staff Network, an online support and discussion group, as well as organising and promoting occasional events that may be of interest to disabled staff. She is also developing web resources to support disabled members of staff and their managers.

Many of the people we spoke to said they had been in contact with the Advisor describing the support as "a lifeline", "brilliant", "terrific", "the best", fantastic", and "very helpful". Some of the help that the Advisor was able to offer were:

  • General help and support, including signposting to other resources and literature.
  • Advice on strategies to manage a disability or condition in the workplace.
  • Assistance with Access to Work applications (see Resources).
  • Advice on funding any equipment purchases.
  • Help navigating University processes, including job applications, case conferences and disciplinary procedures.
  • Offering a safe place outside an individual's department for them to reflect on how to address a tricky situation.
  • Informal screening for possible dyslexia and assistance in arranging a diagnostic assessment and support.

Click for Verity's interviewVerity explains the various ways the Staff Disability Advisor was able to support her.



Click for Charlotte's interview© Disability NarrativesCharlotte explains that the Staff Disability Advisor was able to suggest practical issues to consider when she was looking for a new job.


Click for Susannah's interviewSusannah sought to work as much as she could during a period of chronic migraines; although this affected her productivity, the advice from Staff Disability Advisor helped.


Click for Liz's interviewLiz was surprised by the amount and forms of support available to her to help her return to work.


Click for Mary's interview© Disability NarrativesMary describes some of the support she got form the Staff Disability Advisor, including assistance with her Access to Work application.


Click for Charlotte's interview© Disability NarrativesCharlotte wants managers to be aware that the Staff Disability Advisor can support their staff (when they are not able to).