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List of Reasonable adverse effects

An illustrative and non-exhaustive list of factors which, if they are experienced by a person, it would be reasonable to regard as having a substantial adverse effect on normal day-to-day activities. 

Source: Office of Disability Issues (recommended by the EHRC) 

Whether a person satisfies the definition of a disabled person for the purposes of the Act will depend upon the full circumstances of the case.  That is, whether the substantial adverse effect of the impairment on normal day-to-day activities is long term. 

In the following examples, the effect described should be thought of as if it were the only effect of the impairment. 

  • Difficulty in getting dressed, for example, because of physical restrictions, a lack of understanding of the concept, or low motivation;

  • Difficulty carrying out activities associated with toileting, or caused by frequent minor incontinence;

  • Difficulty preparing a meal, for example, because of restricted ability to do things like open cans or packages, or because of an inability to understand and follow a simple recipe;

  • Difficulty eating; for example, because of an inability to co-ordinate the use of a knife and fork, a need for assistance, or the effect of an eating disorder;

  • Difficulty going out of doors unaccompanied, for example, because the person has a phobia, a physical restriction, or a learning disability;

  • Difficulty waiting or queuing, for example, because of a lack of understanding of the concept, or because of pain or fatigue when standing for prolonged periods;

  • Difficulty using transport; for example, because of physical restrictions, pain or fatigue, a frequent need for a lavatory or as a result of a mental impairment or learning disability;

  • Difficulty in going up or down steps, stairs or gradients; for example, because movements are painful, fatiguing or restricted in some way;

  • A total inability to walk, or an ability to walk only a short distance without difficulty; for example because of physical restrictions, pain or fatigue;

  • Difficulty entering or staying in environments that the person perceives as strange or frightening;

  • Behaviour which challenges people around the person, making it difficult for the person to be accepted in public places;

  • Persistent difficulty crossing a road safely, for example, because of physical restrictions or a failure to understand and manage the risk;

  • Persistent general low motivation or loss of interest in everyday activities;

  • Difficulty accessing and moving around buildings; for example because of inability to open doors, grip handrails on steps or gradients, or an inability to follow directions;

  • Difficulty operating a computer, for example, because of physical restrictions in using a keyboard, a visual impairment or a learning disability;

  • Difficulty picking up and carrying objects of moderate weight, such as a bag of shopping or a small piece of luggage, with one hand;

  • Inability to converse, or give instructions orally, in the person’s native spoken language;

  • Difficulty understanding or following simple verbal instructions;

  • Difficulty hearing and understanding another person speaking clearly over the voice telephone (where the telephone is not affected by bad reception);

  • Persistent and significant difficulty in reading or understanding written material where this is in the person’s native written language, for example because of a mental impairment, or learning disability, or a visual impairment (except where that is corrected by glasses or contact lenses);

  • Intermittent loss of consciousness;

  • Frequent confused behaviour, intrusive thoughts, feelings of being controlled, or delusions;

  • Persistently wanting to avoid people or significant difficulty taking part in normal social interaction or forming social relationships, for example because of a mental health condition or disorder;

  • Persistent difficulty in recognising, or remembering the names of, familiar people such as family or friends;

  • Persistent distractibility or difficulty concentrating;

  • Compulsive activities or behaviour, or difficulty in adapting after a reasonable period to minor changes in a routine.



Human Resources

University of St Andrews
The Old Burgh School

Abbey Walk
St Andrews
KY16 9LB
Scotland, United Kingdom

Tel: +44(0)1334 463096