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About the
Disability Handbook 

The author, Lisa Dondainas

Currently established in Amsterdam, I am a 21 years old French student focusing on biology and cinema. Deaf in both ears since I was 12 years old, I decided to turn my condition into a source of inspiration in my academic work and artistic experimentations. The idea of the Disability Handbook (DH) arose from my own experiences as a student with a disability: regardless of my level of education, I always had to explain my condition to others and fight for my rights to accessible education. I hope that the resource I created here will make the path through higher education of others who study with a disability more manageable.
In addition to the DH, I have been working on artistic forms of expression to illustrate the specificities of living with a disability. Thus, I started in 2019 a series of digital comics focusing on everyday challenges related to deafness, available on Instagram here: @The_larsen_effect. Due to my international background, I aim to make my work accessible to a broad audience, therefore working both in English and French; find the French versions of my comics here: @The_larsen_effect_fr Later on, in 2020, I dived into creating a collection of paintings representing my understanding of disability and my perception of the world relative to my deafness. Besides my artistic interests, I also work in the area of disability studies, specifically on the representation of disability in cinematographic works. See one of my article on topic, Norms on the Abnormal (p.74).



Thanks to ...

All AUC students and alumni who took the time to share their experiences with me. Their contributions were all incredibly insightful.

To Thijs Vromen for some of his suggestions for accommodation, some of them were very specific and put as they were in the table of the section on ADD&ADHD, combined with the rest of my results. 

To Mélanie Butterati for their detailed insights on meltdowns and shutdowns. To avoid making their answers unclear or discursive, as well as disregard deserved credits, their answers were integrated in the section on Autism verbatim. 

All peer reviewers, Rein Bernard, Upeka Eriksen, Joost Krijnen, Meindert Peters, and Dasha Protsenko.

The members of the AUC Diversity Commission, the AUC DLG and the AUC Diversity Working Group for helping me reach out to the relevant members of our communities.

My Community Project supervisor, Aino Kekkonen, who trusted me enough to give me complete freedom in the creation of the DH.

My parents, for providing me with the fundings required to keep this site up and running, and for their never-ending support through the good and the bad times.

Tim Holthuijsen, for peer-reviewing the DH, and for his support throughout my own journey.


1. Through its title, the Disability Handbook, I do not intend to label anyone as disabled or with the term disability. The use of those terms is and should be a personal choice, and relating to any of the mentioned conditions here does not mean one should use them.

2. During my research, I realised that two persons relating to the same disability can have divergent opinions: besides issues generally agreed on in the general population of individuals with disabilities, there are questions the answers to which relate to personal opinions. In this handbook, I have aimed to integrate as much feedback as possible to correctly represent the views of those involved, though I cannot, unfortunately, guarantee a general agreement between all readers.

3. That some accommodations are suggested here and specified for a specific disability does not form insurance that they will systematically work for those who relate to the associated condition. The best way to accommodate a person with a disability is to communicate with them with understanding, compassion, and respect.


4. I am very aware that the disability spectrum contains so much more than what I could explore in the Disability Handbook. If one’s disability or health condition is not (yet) mentioned here, it does in no case diminish their legitimacy and rights to accommodations and to relate to the disability community. I am more than happy to be in contact with those who feel not or not well enough represented here and work on those issues together. This first edition will be elaborated on, and I hope to make it complete eventually.

Lisa Dondainas


For all questions and comments, you can contact me using the following email address:

Lisa Dondainas


     Almog, N. (2018). “Everyone Is Normal, and Everyone Has a Disability”: Narratives of University Students with Visual Impairment. Social Inclusion, 6(4), 218–229. doi: 10.17645/si.v6i4.1697

     American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.).

     American Psychiatric Association (2021). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (DSM-5).

     Baron‐Cohen, S. (2017). Editorial Perspective: Neurodiversity – a revolutionary concept for autism and psychiatry. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 58(6), 744–747. doi: 10.1111/jcpp.12703

     Chasnoff, S. (May 2020). Code of the Freaks – Official trailer [Video]. Youtube.

     Goode, J. (2007). “Managing” disability: early experiences of university students with disabilities. Disability & Society, 22(1), 35–48. doi: 10.1080/09687590601056204

     Huxley, A. (1954). The doors of perception. Chatto & Windus.


     Iezzoni, L., & Freedman, V. (2008). Turning the Disability Tide: The Importance of Definitions. JAMA : the Journal of the American Medical Association, 299(3), 332–334. doi: 10.1001/jama.299.3.332

     Longmore, P. K. (1985). Screening stereotypes: Images of disabled people. Social Policy, 16, 31-37.

     Markotic, N. (2008). Punching up the story: Disability and Film. Canadian Journal of Film Studies, 17(1), 2–10. doi: 10.3138/cjfs.17.1.2

     McRuer, R. (2019). In Focus: Cripping Cinema and Media Studies: Introduction. JCMS : Journal of Cinema and Media Studies, 58(4), 134–139. doi: 10.1353/cj.2019.0042

     Moon, N., & Baker, P. (2012). Assessing Stakeholder Perceptions of Workplace Accommodations Barriers: Results From a Policy Research Instrument. Journal of Disability Policy Studies, 23(2), 94–109.


     National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS). (2018, June 22). Kimberlé Crenshaw: What is Intersectionality? [Video]. Youtube.

     Rudnick, A. (2006). Review of Disability: Definitions, Value and Identity. Psychiatric Rehabilitation Journal, 30(2), 156–157. doi: org/10.1037/h0094613

     Safran, S. (1998). Disability Portrayal in Film: Reflecting the Past, Directing the Future. Exceptional Children, 64(2), 227–238. doi: 10.1177/001440299806400206

     Sandahl, C. (2019). It’s All the Same Movie: Making Code of the Freaks. JCMS : Journal of Cinema and Media Studies, 58(4), 145–150. doi: 10.1353/cj.2019.0044

     Spassiani, N., Ó Murchadha, N., Clince, M., Biddulph, K., Conradie, P., Costello, F., Cox, L., Daly, E., Daly, O., Middleton, C., McCabe, K., Philips, M., Soraghan, S., & Tully, K. (2017). Likes, dislikes, supports and barriers: the experience of students with disabilities in university in Ireland. Disability & Society, 32(6), 892–912. doi: 10.1080/09687599.2017.1320272

     World Health Organisation. (2020). Disability and health.

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