Author: heatherarmstrong

Meet your DI Student Ambassadors 2022/2023

Say hello to this year’s cohort of Disability Inclusion Student Ambassadors:

Beth Karp

Image of Beth,  a white woman, with shirt brown hair.

My name Beth, having studied for my Masters at Napier, I continued on to undertake my own research in music for my PhD. Alongside this, I am a mother of four, a musician, a songwriter and a producer. I have a variety of long-term health conditions which don’t function in a set manner -sometimes I am tickety-boo and others not so much. I have what is known as ‘invisible disabilities’ and some learning difficulties, or what I would
term learning enhancements. Having engaged with higher education as a hybrid student working remotely in the past and now an in-person student I have an awareness of some of the things both methods can offer – both positive and negative.
I have experience with PTSD, mental health, invisible disabilities, long-term health conditions such as Rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s and other IBD issues along with other obscure really hidden conditions and more. I also have in the past worked with and campaigned for those with Type 1, ME, MS and those suffering the effects of trauma. All of these experiences and insights help me to understand and see what others do not potentially see. With my varied experience, both personally and through friends and family, I am passionate about raising awareness, for inclusive spaces, improving experiences and helping to make the invisible visible! I am looking forward to working as an ambassador for DI at Napier and hope that I can help improve experiences and aid positive change to get the most out of your time at Napier.

Victoria Brown

Graduation picture of Victoria, a white women with blonde hair

Hello! My name is Victoria, I am currently studying for my Postgraduate Diploma in Education for Biology and Sciences. I am a returning student to Edinburgh Napier following graduation from my undergraduate degree in Biological Sciences in 2015. I have a wonderful son with ASD and this has sparked a personal mission for me to raise awareness of disability recognition and inclusion. Within the role of Disability and Inclusion Ambassador, I am excited to help highlight the daily challenges faced by students with disabilities at Edinburgh Napier University and work to create a better learning environment for all thus, allowing all students to reach their fullest potential.  

Siobhan Smith

Graduation picture of Siobhan, a white woman with red hair and glasses.

Hi! My name is Siobhan, and this is my second year of being a Disabled Student Ambassador. I completed my undergraduate degree, in biomedical science, at Napier and am now in my final year of MSc Nursing.

I am passionate about ensuring there are no barriers for anyone wishing to access higher education. I pledge to do everything I can to aid in reducing and eliminating any barriers which prevent disabled people from easily accessing education at Edinburgh Napier University.

It has been a great privilege to work alongside the team and to see their care and commitment to making improvements. I look forward to the coming year, please keep an eye out for what we will be getting up to and do not hesitate to get in touch if you have any concerns or suggestions!

David Richards

Image of David Richards, a white man with a beard, standing outside with a camera around their neck.

Hello, I am David Richards! I am a 3rd year in Digital Media and Interaction Design. This is my 3rd year as a Disabled Inclusion Ambassador. I am good at making people feel included and just enjoy talking to people, especially in a role like this. What I am looking forward to most in this position is working in a team and collaborating on different projects and opportunities that I wouldn’t have had access to otherwise.

Nasima Karim

A full body image of Nasima, a woman with dark blonde hair. Standing in a mountain range

It feels such an honour to be a Student Ambassador for Disability and Inclusion at Edinburgh Napier University. My name is Nasima Karim, and I am here to study MSc in International Human Resource Management. I am really excited to be in Edinburgh and very happy to see enthusiastic people around Edinburgh city and at our university too. Everybody these days knows about Disability and Inclusion but we need to be kind to people around us including Disable people, The conscious act of kindness can really make a difference in making our University an inclusive and acceptable environment for everyone who is part of it, I think that by accepting people with diverse background and abilities we are already a pluralistic university, we can encourage all students to study in a setting where they will ultimately have the chance to grow personally and professionally. I am eager to work with all students, including those with disabilities.

If you are interested in any of the work of the Student Ambassadors or have any questions for them please send them to Heather Armstrong, Disabled Student Engagement Worker, at

Headshot of Heather, a white woman with highlighted blonde hair and glasses.
Staff Photos March 2022. Sighthill Campus

Heather works within the Disability Inclusion team at Edinburgh Napier, speaking to disabled students about their experiences so we can make the university a more inclusive place.

She leads the Disability Inclusion Student Ambassador team.

Sunflower Lanyards

Author: Kimberley Giles


You’ve probably seen when you’re out and about people using sunflower lanyards, but do you know what they are for and what they aim to represent?

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, the use of the sunflower lanyard became increasingly more common but the scheme itself has been around for quite some time. The Hidden Disabilities Sunflower discreetly reflects that the individual wearing it has a hidden disability, providing a subtle indication to those around them that they may need more time, additional support, or some form of assistance. The scheme has been endorsed by several major supermarkets, public transport companies, the NHS, the police, and a growing number of other businesses and venues.

Those who live with invisible disabilities such as mental illness, learning difficulties, hearing or visual impairments, for example, can find day-to-day life difficult but may struggle to ask for help or adjustments. For some individuals, whilst they may not actively need any extra assistance, they may wish for people around them to simply be aware of the fact that they may need extra time or more personal space.

As someone who lives with a hidden disability, I can find it incredibly difficult when I’m out and about, especially if I’m on my own. In my personal situation, I don’t usually require any specific form of additional help and support, however, I do like to make others around me know that I may need more time, I may need to quickly make an exit, or I may just need more space. My hidden disability also means I am unable to wear a face covering and I use the Hidden Sunflower scheme to let those around me know I am medically exempt.

It’s important to note that wearing a sunflower lanyard, or any other face-covering exemption card, is a personal choice and is not required by law. But for me, it allows me to feel that little bit safer knowing that I am less likely to avoid confrontation from others that would only exacerbate my anxiety. Many others use the sunflower lanyard in this way too. Unfortunately, I still receive judgemental looks from some people, and I’ve heard several people comment to those they are with that they disapprove of me not wearing a face mask. I ask on behalf of us with a hidden disability that if you do see someone who is not wearing a face covering and is using the sunflower lanyard that you kindly withhold any negative judgment.

There are lots of ways you can pick up your own lanyard, including for free from the campus iPoints. Next time you’re in the supermarket, ask at customer services too as they often have them. You can also purchase lanyards, exemption cards, and several other sunflower products from


Call for Participants – Honours Project

Image of raised hands

Hi there,

I am looking for participants to help me with my research into increasing the accessibility of the Edinburgh Napier Accommodation website and application process for individuals with dyslexia. Participants would be asked to participate in two tasks; the first is the Think-aloud protocol, where you will be asked to carry out several tasks on your computer while verbalising your thoughts and actions. The second task is a short interview questioning your experience with the first task. Through analysing the results from both tasks, I aim to deliver a working prototype of a redesigned Edinburgh Napier Accommodation website and application process which improves accessibility for people with dyslexia. Please get in touch with me at the email below if you would like to help out with my honours project.
Thanks, Jack Slater

Invitation to Lead Scotland Student Focus Group

Lead Scotland is working with Advance HE to carry out some research into the different approaches and initiatives colleges and universities in Scotland are using to improve outcomes and experiences for disabled students. As part of the research, we are interviewing institutions as well as holding some student focus groups. Edinburgh Napier have taken part in the research to talk about the innovative approach they are developing to create a more inclusive learning experience and environment across the whole university. 

We would like to invite any disabled students studying at Edinburgh Napier University to attend an online focus group to talk about inclusive practice as well as the support they have received as a disabled student and how that has made a difference to them. If you would like to take part, please contact Rebecca Scarlett by emailing to get further information and to register your interest.

Lead Scotland is a small charity supporting disabled people to learn across Scotland. They run the only national disabled students’ helpline in Scotland and use the evidence they receive from the helpline to inform and influence policies affecting disabled learners. Advance HE supports the university and college sector to improve and enhance practice in relation to equality, diversity, and inclusion.”

Masters Scholarships for Disabled Students – up to £30,000 available

Snowdon Master Scholarships banner. Reads ' Investing in inspirational disabled leaders. Funding up to £30,000 for UK Masters programmes. Global Disability Innovation Hub. The Snowdon Trust'

Snowdon Masters Scholarships 

Successful students will receive up to £15,000 towards their fees and a £15,000 allowance while studying. There are a number of scholarships available, and students can apply for any master’s course or university – applications are open for both National and International Students.



Find out more and apply: (Deadline: 6th April 2021)