The Universal Design for Learning (UDL) framework offers a promising strategy to address the needs of higher education students with disabilities; UDL aims to support access, participation and progress for ‘all’ learners, resulting in more accessible learning environments. The objective of this qualitative study is to explore whether UDL addresses the learning needs of students with disabilities effectively. Findings suggested that students’ perceptions align well with UDL’s principles, especially with the principle of multiple means of engagement. Additionally, we found that meeting the learning needs of some students may create barriers for others. To overcome these weaknesses, UDL needs to address the individual learning needs of students, not only through setting and curricular changes, but also in a direct way. Therefore, this study argues for responsive teaching whilst implementing UDL in a flexible way. Helping students to articulate their learning needs by asking them the right questions will be crucial.