Under the Equality Act 2010, a person with a disability is described as having a physical or mental impairment that has a ‘substantial’ and ‘long-term’ negative effect on your ability to do normal daily activities. 

Substantial is anything considered more than minor. It may take someone much longer to complete a daily task that usually doesn't require much time. For example, getting dressed or having a shower.

Long term refers to the condition lasting 12 months or more. For example, a breathing condition that has developed as a result of a lung infection. 

At LUU, we identify four categories within the definition of disability: physical disabilities, long term health conditions, mental health conditions and learning differences.


The sunflower is a globally recognised symbol for non-visible disabilities and neurodiversity. Some choose to wear the sunflower lanyard to discreetly identify that they may need support, help, or just a little more time in shops, transport, or public spaces than others.

Click here to find out more.


Physical disabilities are defined under the Equality Act 2010 as:

“limitation on a person's physical functioning, mobility, dexterity or stamina” that has a 'substantial' and 'long-term' negative effect on an individual’s ability to do daily activities." 

Below are the top four most common types of physical disabilities for adults in the UK.


Fibromyalgia is characterised by widespread pain and fatigue, and is most likely to affect women than men. 

Watch: Fibromyalgia: Living with Chronic Pain by BBC Stories.

Cerebral Palsy

Cerebral palsy is a lifelong condition that affects your movement and co-ordination.

Watch: "I got 99 problems... palsy is just one" by Maysoon Zayid at TEDWomen Talk for an intersectional take on her experience in the acting industry. 

Partial Sight and Blind Awareness

RNIB are committed to helping blind and partially sighted people. They have advice on Cost of Living, Living with Sight Loss, Careers and more. 

Click here to check out their website (dark mode available). 


Long term conditions are physical health conditions that require ongoing management over a period of years. Below are a few example of long term health conditions which are classed as disabilities according to the Equality Act 2010. 


Diabetes is a serious, lifelong condition where your blood glucose level is too high. Around 3.8 million people have been diagnosed with diabetes in the UK.

Watch: What is Diabetes? a 2 minute guide by Diabetes UK. 


Asthma is a common lung condition that causes occasional breathing difficulties. 

Sign up here (bottom of the page) and get a FREE asthma self-care guide to help manage your asthma.

Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME) or Chronic Fatigue

This is a long-term condition with a wide range of symptoms. The most common symptom is extreme tiredness. 

Read: Supporting people with M.E at work.


The Equality Act 2010 considers a diagnosis of cancer as a disability. The Act gives you important rights at work. Click here to find out more.


Mental health conditions affect around one in four people in any given year. The most common conditions are depression and anxiety, while rarer conditions include schizophrenia and bipolar. See below for an insight into each of these conditions. 


Anxiety is a feeling of unease, such as worry or fear, that can be mild or severe.

Listen to these stories: 

ADHD, Anxiety and perfectionism by Laura.

How balancing anxiety and ADHD under stimulation led to my "just right" job by Delia.


Depression is more than simply feeling unhappy or fed up for a few days. Most people go through periods of feeling down, but when you're depressed you feel persistently sad for weeks or months.

Read: Celebrity spotlight: Cara Delevingne on dyspraxia, depression, and kicking butt as an actress

Eating Disorders

People with eating disorders use disordered eating behaviour as a way to cope with difficult situations or feelings. Find out more here.

Read: Building a support network" - Read Georgia's top tips for reaching out.


Schizophrenia is a mental health condition where you may see, hear or believe things that are not real. It remains one of the most stigmatised and misunderstood  conditions today. 

Watch: What is Schizophrenia?  by Anees Bahji


The term 'learning differences' refers to the unique ways in which people process information which can alter the way in which they interpret the world. Dyslexia is the most common learning disability, with 80% of people with a learning disability having dyslexia. While auditory processing disorders and sensory processing disorders are of the least acquired among this grouping. 

Auditory Processing Disorder (APD)

APD is where you have difficulty understanding sounds, including spoken words. 

For tips and advice on things you can do to help APD, click here.

Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD)

SPD is a condition that affects how your brain processes sensory information. 

To find out more about SPD and the potential workplace accommodations that can be made, click here


Dyspraxia is a condition affecting physical co-ordination.

Mimi and Kitya both have dyspraxia, and in this article they explore what having dyspraxia is like. Click here to read.


Dyslexia primarily affects the accuracy of reading and spelling.

Lori is a junior marketing assistant who has dyslexia. Her challenges with reading and spelling affect almost every aspect of her day.

 Read: a day in the life of an employee with dyslexia


The language we use is continually changing and standards continue to adapt as our understanding of and perceptions of what is acceptable language evolves. Here is the governments recent guidance on Inclusive Language. 

Create a work environment where people feel comfortable disclosing their disability.

Help build a supportive community for employees with disabilities. For example, by creating a disability staff network. 

Remember that disability is such a broad term and that people with disabilities will have different experiences.

Think intersectionally when considering the impacts, for example read how the cost of living affects people with disabilities.