The Best Universities For Disability & Neurodiversity

These are the universities that have the best support for disabled and neurodiverse students.

UCAS data from the end of 2023 shows the number of accepted UK applicants who have a disability or mental health condition. 103,000 students reported having a disability, and 36,000 reported having a mental health condition — both seeing an increase from previous years.

It’s no surprise then that students are being more particular when choosing what they want from a university. Is the campus accessible? What support is there for mental health? Can I use headphones in lectures? These, and many more, are the questions students are asking when searching for a uni.

Choosing a university is not easy for many of us, but for those who are disabled or neurodivergent, there are a lot more factors to consider when deciding on studies. Our Student Beans survey revealed that nearly 22% of students have been diagnosed with a neurodiversity, and just over 28% of students said they experience symptoms of neurodivergence.

It’s normal to expect that most universities will have excellent disability support, an accessible campus and are able to make reasonable adjustments due to the increasing number of students who require such accommodations. However, according to our student survey, nearly 8% of students said their university doesn’t provide mental health support, and nearly 25% weren’t even sure if their unis offered support or not.

Shannon O’Dowd, Head of Talent at Student Beans gives us her input on the situation:

“It’s only in recent years we are seeing an increase in neurodiversity awareness and it’s now, more than ever, important that neurodiverse students are given access and enough mental health support during their academic journey. This will ensure universities are cultivating an inclusive and fair environment, which can have a positive influence on all students by fostering understanding, empathy, and a culture of inclusiveness.”

So, with the number of students studying with a disability or neurodiversity such as ADHD, we thought we’d help you guys out and do some of the research for you. No need to thank us! We’ve got the best universities for disabled and neurodivergent students based on student comments on The Student Room forums and university disability policies.

Jump to:

Best universities for disability and neurodiversity

We scoured The Student Room to find comments around which universities were good (or rubbish!) for disabled or neurodivergent students. We also looked at university policies regarding disability to see the extent of their support.

Of course, everyone is different and may need different support so take this as a starting point for your journey rather than a solution.



Durham University

20% of the student population at Durham University are disabled, so the uni aims to ensure their environments, policies, and practices are as inclusive as possible. 

Taken from The Student Room, one comment explains what the university has to offer:

“A study room for students registered with DUSSD (Durham Uni Service for Students with Disabilities) in the library, a quiet study area which can be pre-booked and contains a range of appropriate equipment and computer software. I think we’re also allowed to take things like laptops on loan, not just from the library but also the disability service.”

According to the university’s disability policy, these are some of the different ways they can offer support:

  • A disability adviser
  • Individual Disability Support Plan (DSP)
  • Exam arrangements
  • Liaison or meeting with relevant staff/tutors
  • Library support — e.g. extended loans and access to study room or assistive software
  • Help and advice with funding
  • Referral for specialist support and advice from qualified Mental Health Advisors and/or Counselling service
  • Specialist Study Skills Support for student who aren’t in receipt of external funding
  • Screening for dyslexia/SpLD and referral for diagnostic assessments
  • Early Arrival Programme for autistic students
  • An internship programme run in partnership with Careers and Enterprise for autistic students.

To find out more about Durham University and its policies, check out the disability support page

Huddersfield University

Huddersfield had a shoutout on The Student Room for being a great university for students who are hearing impaired — even having a deaf awareness course as part of Deaf Awareness Week.

The university’s disability support covers a lot, from free workshops and support groups to appointments with a disability adviser and assistive technology support.

Some of the other support the university offers:

  • 24/7 support with online tools and directories
  • Autism Lunch Club
  • Bereavement Support Group
  • Racism and Trauma workshops
  • Campus map showing accessibility

Leeds University

Leeds University was also mentioned on The Student Room, shouting out about the uni’s disabled student support. Almost 20% of the student body at Leeds have a disability, and the university has created a policy to ensure they get the support they need.

Some of the important stuff they cover in their disability support services:

  • Support available for disabled international, postgraduate, apprenticeship and remote students
  • Includes people with a wide range of different disabilities including neurodevelopmental conditions (like ADHD) and neurological conditions (like stammering, Tourettes), mental health conditions, long-term medical conditions (e.g. fatigue, asthma, diabetes), physical or learning disabilities deaf/hearing impaired, blind/visually impaired, and autism
  • Braille/tactile maps of the city centre available
  • Accessibility map and buildings
  • Adapted accommodation 
  • Deaf alerter system and hearing technology
  • Accessible study rooms and sports centre (gym and pool with wheelchair accessibility)

Head over to their Support and Wellbeing page to find out more about the types of support and services you have available to you.

Manchester University

Manchester University was ranked in the top 50 universities according to the QS World University Rankings 2024 and is considered one of the leading institutions that provide dedicated, tailored support for students with autism.

The university hosts weekly lunchtime social groups for students with autism, as well as specialist mentoring and the option to have a named disability adviser. With 19% of the unis students being disabled, the disability support on offer has a wide range of help to suit everyone. 

Support offered includes:

  • Exam accommodations 
  • Assistive technology and software
  • Alternative course formats and advance copies of lecture slides/notes
  • Deadline and attendance support and adjustments
  • Equipment that helps your disability
  • Sign Language interpreters
  • Mental health mentoring
  • Study assistant

Head over to Manchester University’s disability advisory and support centre to find out more. 

Sheffield University

Sheffield University had some raving reviews from students on The Student Room. One student with autism explained the support they were offered around exams: “Exams in a room of no more than 10 people, 25% extra time, 20 minutes of rest breaks per hour, headphones allowed in exams”.

They also listed the day-to-day support they had available, including:

  • Learning support plan that is shared with all lectures that provides a summary of how autism manifests for the individual and the academic and social challenges they may face
  • Clear and unambiguous language when marking etc and extra sessions to go through feedback
  • Written confirmation of all the work in the different modules at the start of term such as presentations
  • Having a reading list which shows what is required and what’s extra
  • Course materials available 24-hours before lecture
  • Can pick group for group work and presentations/present to a smaller group of people
  • Meetings to regularly check-in
  • Record lectures
  • Rest breaks and support worker
  • Leave lectures if overwhelmed and can arrive late/leave early
  • Support groups
  • Orientation tour and support
  • Events throughout the year like private tours and sessions

The university has support in place for any disability or difficulties to face. To find out more, visit their Disability and Dyslexia Support Service page.

Sheffield Hallam University

Another shout out to Sheffield, this time for Sheffield Hallam Uni. According to a user on The Student Room:

“The support they have given [me] over the past three years has been amazing. There are drop in sessions three/four times a week for disabled students to ask any questions that they might have. They are very accommodating in terms of adjustments, we have a learning contract which is sent to every lecturer you have so that they can see what arrangements are in place for you.”

And this isn’t a one-off. Sheffield Hallam helps over 4,000 students each year who have a variety of conditions and disabilities. They offer assistive technology to those who require it, and specialist mentors to help you keep on track with your university life.

To find out more, head to their disabled student support page.


Birmingham City University

Birmingham City is another uni that made it onto The Student Room reviews, with one student noting down a few of the ways the uni supports disability. They boasted that the university offered “additional support from tutors/lecturers, allowances for presentations, longer library loan periods, excuse absences, and the potential to defer exams to the summer if necessary with few questions asked”.

The university’s disability policy outlines the kind of support they offer:

  • Reasonable adjustments to assignments and assessments
  • Specialist equipment and software
  • Support workers and mentors
  • Accessible parking
  • Accessible accommodation
  • Tailored library support
  • Pre-entry disability adviser 

Birmingham City university also claims to tailor support depending on individual needs, which can include sign language interpreters, note-takers and dyslexia mentors to help with any practical assistance you might require. 

The uni also holds a Welcome Day for disabled students, covering topics surrounding the Disability Support and services they offer, a workshop about the transition to university and general information about apps and software available to them that can help with organisation and studying. There is a Life Skills Summer School, too, that the uni holds during early September for neurodiverse students to try out the university accommodation and will be offered workshops around socialising with new students and how to adapt to your new environment.

For further information, check out Birmingham City’s Disability Support page.

Nottingham Trent

For individuals with disabilities that limit their physical side of university life, Nottingham Trent is a great place to consider for your studies. Based on comments on The Student Room, the university has ‘really good’ disability support. One student mentions their experience at the uni:

“I can have a disabled adapted room in uni accommodation and live there all three years of my course. I chose the accommodation closest to my study areas so that I can basically roll out of bed into class, and the student GP surgery is equally as close. I also have a statement of access which lets everyone who teaches me know that my attendance will not be as good as others’, and also gives me extensions without needing additional evidence each time automatically with no trouble so long as I ask for it before the original deadline.”

Nottingham Trent tailors the support offered according to the student’s needs. They value inclusivity and have support for a range of different disabilities, including autism, ADHD, dyslexia, mental health and any physical, sensory, or long-term medical conditions, too.

Find out more about Nottingham Trent’s disability and inclusion services.


Imperial College London

London is a bustling city and can be daunting for anyone, especially students moving to the city for their studies. According to a comment on Mumsnet however, Imperial College London recognises this and offers support for those who need it. They believed the uni to be ‘autism friendly’ and described some of the support available…

“It has a Disability Advisory service, can help with assessments of study needs and adjustments. They have ASD peer groups, study skills and mental health mentors, as well as a counselling service.”

Imperial College London has a Student Support Zone that covers areas including:

  • Careers
  • Chaplaincy
  • Counselling and mental health
  • Sexual violence support
  • Fees and funding
  • Accommodation

It also includes the Disability Advisory Service which offers support for disabled students and those with specific learning difficulties and autism. 

Support offered includes:

  • Reasonable adjustments
  • Accommodation — room requirements and adaptations, halls of residence after first year
  • Additional exam arrangements
  • Specialist study skills tutorials
  • Study mentors
  • Inclusive technology training
  • Equipment
  • Peer support groups
  • Non-medical help (NMH) support 
  • Library support
  • Mental health advice

University College London

University College London had a few mentions on The Student Room for their support and wellbeing services. Their support covers a lot of areas from sexual misconduct and violence to identity and personal safety.

They have support across mental health and wellbeing, including counselling services and workshops. The uni also offers support for disabled students, which is tailored to the student but can include assistive technology, exam adjustments, and higher spec accommodation.

Head to the support and wellbeing page for more information and resources.


Bournemouth University

If you have autism, Bournemouth University might be a good option to consider. Mentioned on The Student Room as offering great support for students with autism, one commented on how excellent the university was, before they were even formally diagnosed.

“I was not diagnosed with autism when I studied at Bournemouth but everyone suspected I had it. The university paid the difference for me to see an autism specialist mentor rather than just a standard mentor — they went above and beyond.”

Looking at the uni’s disability support, they offer a lot of different support depending on your needs, including:

  • Arranging screenings and assessments for dyslexia, dyspraxia and ADD
  • Helping students with employability skills
  • Independent learning through one-to-ones and workshops
  • Exam arrangements
  • Reasonable adjustments like alternative exam/assignment formats, digital recorder for lectures, mentors, printed materials, specialist software
  • Academic skills support

Essex University

If you deal with a mental health condition or have a physical disability, Essex University might be a great choice for you. One student raved about the support they were offered as a student:

“I had a disability support worker the entire time at university and she arranged things like making sure I had on-site accommodation which was on the ground floor with disabled access, exam arrangements, etc. I also had a specialist Mental Health mentor in my final year, she was invaluable (she would keep in contact with me during the week and if I wasn’t responding she would ask for a welfare check to be performed)”.

Many other students commented similar reviews, boasting about the support:

“I had a lot of different support (e.g. disability support worker, specialist MH mentor) for various reasons and am grateful for it. I wouldn’t have graduated without it!”

“Essex uni has the best support, unlike other unis. Paid for my CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy), which was utterly surprising.”

If you’re not convinced by their reviews, head over to Essex uni’s disability support.

Sussex University

If you struggle with your mental health, Sussex University has excellent support available. Students on The Student Room say the uni is “really understanding and helpful for mental health difficulties. As long as you tell them about it, they can help you. It’s quite a liberal place in general, and people are smart and clued in about such things and genuinely want to help.”

Sussex University’s student hub outlines some of the support they offer.

  • Reasonable adjustments
  • Accessible accommodation
  • AccessAble website showing the buildings
  • Quiet hours for shopping (onsite Co-op supermarket)
  • Disabled students rom for rest and study
  • Assistive PCs and equipment

Winchester University

Winchester University also appeared on The Student Room for universities with good disability support. Their services cover a lot of different aspects, from mental wellbeing to physical and learning disabilities.

The university offers:

  • On the day bookable appointments for mental wellbeing
  • One-off and on-going counselling/mental health advice (face to face and remotely)
  • Topical workshops
  • Assistive technology training and support
  • Exam adjustments
  • Arranging assessments for dyslexia, etc


Aberystwyth University

If you fancy heading to Wales for your studies, Aberystwyth University might tickle your fancy.

The university has fully accessible rooms and adapted flats, as well as being able to provide adjustments like flashing fire alarms, vibrating pillows and medical fridges. They can also tailor the rooms according to individual needs, like installing handrails or lowering shelves. If you need a personal carer, the uni may also be able to provide them with a room on campus.

Other support the university offers includes:

  • Acclimatisation Events for new students with autism or similar difficulties to help them transition to uni life
  • Personal Emergency Evacuation plan
  • Accessibility Advisers
  • Support for transgender and gender diverse students

Swansea University

Swansea University have a lot outlined in their disability and student support pages — inclusive of a wide range of disabilities and conditions.

Examples of some of the support the university claims to offer:

  • Accessible venue for exams/smaller rooms
  • Extra time for exams and assignments
  • Feedback in a format that suits you
  • Assistive technology 
  • Accessible accommodation
  • On-campus GP centre
  • Inclusive library services
  • Transcription centre


Aberdeen University

Up to Scotland now, where Aberdeen University nails their disability support

Their support covers students with sensory or physical impairments, mental health conditions, long-term health conditions ADHD, dyslexia and other specific learning differences, stammering, autism and neurodiversity. The support is available for all students whether undergraduate, postgraduate, full-time, part-time, and online distance learners.

Types of support offered:

  • Exam adjustments (extra time, smaller room, etc)
  • Assistive software and technology
  • Deadline extensions
  • Note-takers
  • Disabled Students forum 
  • Personal Emergency Evacuation plan
  • Counselling services

Strathclyde University Glasgow

Strathclyde University Glasgow has an extensive disability and wellbeing service. They provide support for areas like general health, disability, mental health, and rape crisis.

Support the university offers includes, but is not limited to:

  • Mentoring
  • Note taking/human support
  • Assistive technology provision
  • Adjustments to learning, teaching and assessment
  • Mental health and wellbeing assessment
  • Counselling
  • Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)
  • Group therapies

Northern Ireland

Queen’s University Belfast

If you’re looking for an inclusive university with good disability support in Northern Ireland, Queen’s University Belfast is a strong contender.

The university has support in place to help students with a variety of conditions and disabilities including, but not limited to, neurodiversity, specific learning difficulties, mental health, and physical difficulties.

As well as Disabled Students Allowance (DSA) as most unis offer, Queen’s tailors support to meet your individual needs. The types of support you can expect cover in-course and university life, so every aspect of your journey is supported one way or another.

Support includes:

  • Lecture notes and slides available in advance
  • Permission to record lectures
  • Flexibility with coursework deadlines
  • Exam support and adjustments (extra time, smaller room, breaks, etc.)
  • Counselling
  • Assistive technology
  • Personal care funding for daily living
  • Careers support
  • Erasmus+ Funds support for mentoring, flights, equipment etc.

Ulster University

Ulster University offers a broad range of support for disabled students, including neurodiversity, mental health conditions, and specific learning difficulties.

The university has an ASD social group, facilitated by Student Wellbeing and available for students who are neurodiverse. The group runs sessions to catch up and socialise with people similar to you going through similar experiences.

The university’s disability support also includes:

  • Exam and assignment adjustments
  • Assistive technology
  • Library support
  • Physical/accommodation adaptations

DSA and financial support

Disabled Students’ Allowance (DSA) is financial support that helps with the essential costs you have as a result of your disability, mental health condition, long-term health condition, or specific learning difficulty. 

You can receive DSA on its own or in addition to student finance. How much DSA you’re entitled to will depend on your individual circumstances and needs, rather than household income. Plus, you won’t need to pay back any of the DSA. 

How much might you be entitled to? For the 2024 to 2025 academic year, full-time and part-time undergraduate or postgraduate students can get up to £26,948 a year. For the 2023 to 2024 academic year, full-time and part-time undergraduate or postgraduate students can get up to £26,291 a year.

 DSA can help with the costs of:

  • Day-to-day studying related to your disability (e.g. printing costs)
  • Specialist equipment such as assistive software or a specific computer
  • Non-medical helpers, i.e. British Sign Language interpreter or note-taker
  • Extra travel costs associated with your disability

To get DSA, you’ll have to submit evidence to Student Finance England. Below is a table outlining the types of evidence you can supply.

ConditionEvidence required
Mental health conditionA copy of a report or letter from your doctor or consultant — or a copy of a disability evidence form completed by a medical professional.
Specific learning difficultyA copy of a ‘diagnostic assessment’ from a practitioner, psychologist, or suitably qualified specialist teacher.
Long-term health condition or disabilityA copy of a report or letter from your doctor or consultant — or a copy of a disability evidence form completed by a medical professional.
Table showing health conditions and evidence required for Disabled Students’ Allowance.

To find out more about DSA and going to university with a disability, check out the site or head to UCAS.

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