What does a disabled teacher look like?
A disabled person is defined as a person whose impairments are 'physical' or 'mental'. The deciding factor is whether the impairment has 'a substantial adverse impact' on their ability to carry out 'normal' day to day activities and whether it is long lasting (i.e. will last a year or more), although fluctuating conditions are also covered 'if likely to recur'.
Some conditions are explicitly included: chronic conditions such as diabetes and asthma, progressive conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis or Motor Neurone. Anyone with cancer, multiple sclerosis or HIV is covered from diagnosis. The Equality Act also explicitly covers mental impairments such as autistic spectrum disorders, dyslexia and dyspraxia, depression, 'personality disorders', schizophrenia, bipolar affective disorders and obsessive-compulsive disorders.
A teacher defined as 'disabled' is entitled to protection against discrimination and has the right to 'reasonable adjustments' by the employer or service provider.
Networking on Disability Issues
There is a Facebook group for disabled teachers in the Midlands Region, which provides you with some up-to-date information on issues affecting disabled teachers.
If you are interested in attending the NEU Disabled Teachers' Conference, which takes place on October 20 - 21 in Oxford, apply direct on the NEU website. If you have any queries around disability issues, please email me.