The Disability Handbook is the result of a year-long qualitative research completed over the academic year 2020-2021. It was an independent research.
At the beginning of the winter semester, a questionnaire was shared with Amsterdam University College's students through committees, newsletters, and social media. The only criteria to fill in the questionnaire was to be a student with one or multiple disabilities or chronic conditions.
The questionnaire had three points of focus:
1. General meaning of disability
How do the respondents define the term "disability"? Do they consider themselves as disabled?
To which condition/disability do the respondents relate? How do they define it?
3. Academic challenges and accommodations
In which situations are the respondents challenged to access their courses' content or complete their examinations? What are the accommodations that work for them when that happens?
The questionnaire ran for two months (October - November 2020), during which research about the general concept of disability was completed.
From December to April, blocks of time (1 or 2 weeks) were allocated to investigate each disability mentioned in the responses, write a general description of it, and synthesize the students' suggestions for specific accommodations.
In May, each section of the Disability Handbook was shared with peer reviewers while the first layout of the website was created.
From June to September, further revisions based on the peer reviewers' feedback were implemented, and the website was completed.
On October 25, 2021, the first version of the Disability Handbook was published online and shared with the student community and the AUC administration.
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.
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, Dasha Protsenko, and Tim Holthuijsen.
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.