In Defence of Disability, Annual Disability Conference

We have great pleasure in inviting you to join us at De Montfort University’s third Annual Disability Conference on Wednesday 6 and Thursday 7 June 2018. 

4338 Disability Conference Banner-870px x 200px

We have designed some hugely exciting interactive scenarios which, over the two days, will allow you to examine the legal implications of adopting (or not) a strategic approach to these issues and participate in a mock legal case.

At DMU, around one in five students declare a disability and the university takes seriously the implementation of the social model of disability. We demonstrate this through our adoption of Universal Design for Learning (UDL) as a guiding principle in relation to Teaching and Learning, backed by innovative services which aspire to give disabled students the best possible opportunity to thrive.

Our strategic approach has been described by the Department for Education as ‘inspirational’, and informed the content of the DfE guidance ‘Inclusive Teaching and Learning in Higher Education as a route to Excellence’.

Topics which will be covered through a series of optional workshops include mental health and risk, DSA now, Autism and Universal Design for Learning in depth.

Conference documents

Conference documents can be viewed and downloaded below. 


Campus map

If you require these in an alternative format please contact

Who should attend?

This two-day conference will be of interest to senior managers, project managers, disability practitioners, academics and anyone who has an interest in areas such as TEF, NSS. It will also be of interest to those who are concerned with legal compliance, and issues in relation to managing or enhancing reputation.



1. Positive transition to university

Delivered by:

  • Jemma Day, Disability Officer
  • Peter Broadhurst, HCPC Registered Social Worker and Mental Health Intervention Officer
  • Lynda Smith, Transition and Retention Officer

This workshop offers the opportunity to explore and discuss ‘best practice’ for students with complex medical and mental health difficulties. We aim to identify some of the challenges we face as practitioners in particular relation to our increasing numbers and reduction of core support.

2. Course specific initiatives: embedding student support

Delivered by:

  • Rachel Davies, CSI Officer

Rachel has a wide range of experience in providing student support, both in universities and FE colleges, and is a Specific Learning Difference specialist. This workshop will outline DMU’s Course Specific Initiatives project, which aims to embed student support within academic programmes, and consider the potential impact on how students access support services. Using an interactive game based on DMU case studies, we’ll experience the potential benefits and pitfalls of using this approach, from both staff and student perspectives.

The aim of this workshop is to develop participants’ understanding of the CSI project and process for implementation.

Participants will understand the scope and activities taking place as part of DMU’s CSI project; participants will have considered some of the benefits and costs of using a CSI approach.

3. Disability enhancement and Universal Design for Learning at DMU

Delivered by: 

  • Dr Abigail Moriarty, Director of Teaching and Learning

The aims of the workshop will be to demonstrate how to work collaboratively to develop specific models of what constitutes an inclusive institution for today and the future. Discuss barriers to successful institutional progress, with a clear focus on how to overcome these. Plan strategic approaches to aid advancement of student inclusivity within your own organisation.

This workshop is available in both sessions.

4. Single point of access

Delivered by: 

  • Tina Sharpe, Disability Services Manager and winner of the NADP 2017 Deb Viney Practitioner Award

These appointments were introduced in October 2016 and are delivered by staff from disability, counselling and mental health.   They are initial triage appointments to holistically assess student needs, signpost them to appropriate support and help manage demand on welfare services.

The aim of this workshop is to raise awareness of the initial Single Point of Access (SPA) triage used by DMU to manage welfare needs and signpost students to appropriate support.

By the end of the workshop participants will

  1. Know how the system operates
  2. Be aware of the pros and cons
  3. Have considered how such a system could operate in your services

5. Using Brain in Hand, assistive technology to develop student independence and inform service provision for students with Autism

Delivered by: 

  • Leanne Herbert, Disability Officer (Autism)

The reason behind the joint initiative between DMU and BIH has been to enable students to use assistive technology in the form of a mobile application to house strategies that maintain and develop independence at university. With a large user group we have been able to observe timelines of use and patterns in activity that can be used to show student access and participation and to inform service provision. We have also been able to recognise benefits for other users, such as those with mental health conditions and international students.

Attendees have the opportunity to observe real life findings of an academic years’ worth Brain in Hand use by students, along with timeline of data to evoke discussion about how this can be used in the wider context of service provision, including development of inclusion of academic and professional service offer.

De Montfort University purchased 200 Brain in Hand licences for our Disabled students for issue from the start of 2016/17 and made available so far to students with Autism, medical conditions and SpLDs.

6. What is DSA in 2018

Delivered by: 

  • Ursula Bilson, DMU Centre for Accessibility Needs, Assessment Centre Manager

In April 2014 David Willets the then Minister for Universities and Science, announced a “modernisation” of Disabled Students Allowances. This was a wide reaching raft of changes that has greatly changed the relationship of universities, assessments centres and students, and importantly the role that these three play in the process. Each year since there have been alterations to how DSA is administered.

This workshop will be an interactive exploration of what is currently* still in the scope of DSA, and what the are we left with that is potentially out of scope and how organisations are responding to this.

* We anticipate that the DSA guidance document for 2018/19 will be available before the date of the conference, so we can explore any changes which could impact on the forthcoming academic year.

7. Managing students at risk

Delivered by: 

  • Andy Brown, DMU Mental Health Inclusion Manager and Registered Mental Health Nurse

The workshop aims to explore the management of student risk, specifically focusing on mental health. We will discuss the approach which is currently adopted at DMU, sharing the details of our Students at Risk process.   There will also be an opportunity to discuss thoughts and ideas of those attending.


The conference takes place on Wednesday 6 and Thursday 7 June 2018. 


Option 1, £340

Two-day conference including overnight stay and three course evening meal (the early bird deadline has been extended until midnight 11 April)

Attendance cost will revert to £395 on 12 April 2018.

Option 2, £300

Two-day conference only (no hotel accommodation) including three course evening meal (the early bird deadline has been extended until midnight 11 April)

Attendance cost will revert to £345 on 12 April 2018. 

*Both options include an evening meal at the Holiday Inn Hotel, St Nicholas Circle, Leicester on Wednesday 6 June 2018.

How to book

To book your place at the conference please visit our online store

Cancellation policy

If you need to cancel your booking, you will need to inform us in writing to as soon as possible.

Please note:

  1. A 100% refund (full) will be given for cancellation requests received by midnight on Thursday 29 March 2018.
  2. A 50% refund will be given to delegates who cancel up to midnight, Friday 4 May 2018.
  3. No refund will be given for cancellations received after Friday 4 May 2018.

Contact us

For further information about the conference contact

News target area image

DMU is a dynamic university, read about what we have been up to in our latest news section.

Events target area image

At DMU there is always something to do or see, check out our events for yourself.

Mission and vision target area image
Mission and vision

Read about our mission and vision and how these create a supportive and exciting learning environment.