Studying with a Functional Impairment

Equity Tools for Diverse Groups

Studying with a functional impairment at EUR

Erasmus University Rotterdam believes that all students should get a fair chance to make the best use of their strengths. Team Studying with a Functional Impairment (Team SMF) devotes itself to achieving this ambition and is committed to supporting students with functional impairment. Students with an impairment include students with a physical disability, chronic illness, learning difficulties, and other mental health conditions. The team focuses on creating university-wide provisions, such as text-to-speech software for students with a visual handicap or improving campus accessibility. To make this possible, they work closely together with the Student Advisors, Examination Boards, and Facility Services. 

Many students studying at Erasmus University may need additional provisions to achieve their personal and study goals. By contacting Study Advisors as soon as possible, and by indicating what support is needed Team SMF can be there to help students. On the page 'Request extra facilities’, you can find more information on how to submit a request.

You can reach the SMF team through:

Digital accessibility

Erasmus University Library created a guide for students, teachers, support staff and anyone else with an interest in digital accessibility.

Who is this guide for?

This guide is for students, teachers, support staff and anyone else with an interest in digital accessibility.

Why this guide?

The guide provides information on digital accessibility tools built into applications used at EUR, in EUR websites, in Canvas LMS and in EUR Library databases. Links included in the guide point to help pages from the makers of the assistive technology software. Often these pages are written in an accessible way. Links to videos point to video tutorials with closed captions. There are also links to download pages of selected apps.

Click here for the Digital Accessibility Guide, created by Erasmus University Library

Design Thinking for Inclusion


What is Design Thinking?

Design thinking is an approach that brings together what is desirable from a human point of view with what is technologically feasible and economically viable. It allows people who aren't trained as designers to use creative tools to address a vast range of challenges. The design thinking process takes place in 5 phases, namely - empathize, define, ideate, prototype and test. Learn more about design thinking here.

Design Thinking for Inclusion

In the study programme of Management of Innovation of the Rotterdam School of Management, 100+ students participated in a Design Thinking Course. During the empathy phase of their course, students watched six video-stories created by students and staff with a functional impairment at Erasmus University Rotterdam. Besides this, they also interacted with a panel of students and staff with a functional impairment (including many who were also authors of the video-stories) as they engaged in solving design challenges pertaining to accessibility and inclusion at EUR. Also, important to mention here, the staff and students who recorded their stories first received a two-day workshop on digital storytelling, led by Dr. Teti Dragas (Durham University), with the support of Dr. Sonja Wendel (Erasmus University Rotterdam). 

The project was led by ErasmusX in collaboration with Associate Professor Dirk Deichmann of RSM. To know more about the project and how to implement it in your study programme, contact Fanny Passeport at

Watch the stories of EUR students and staff with a functional impairment through the playlist below.

  • The Good Student; Anne-Fleur challenges us to think about what a “good student” is, from her perspective studying with ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder).
  • An Ordinary Life; Annelie describes an ordinary day, living with cerebral palsy.
  • The Never-Ending Cycle; Fabian shares the struggles and disruptions in his life after a cycle accident that affected his vision.
  • Fat Chance; Gabi shows us the many visible and hidden messages of fat shaming that surround her.
  • Finding my space; Karim moves around in a wheelchair and tells us what it feels to not be able to be completely himself due to the way the space is designed and how it affects his social experiences.
  • My Journey in EUR as an international student experiencing mental disorder; Sofia uncovers her experience as an international student, after being diagnosed with C-PTSD (Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) and without access to mental health treatment.

Expert Centre on Inclusive Education (ECIO) – Information Cards for Neurodivergent Students

ECIO supports universities, colleges, and VET institutes to help make education accessible and contributes to, the well-being of students who experience obstacles due to, for example, learning disabilities, physical or sensory impairments, mental vulnerability, or chronic illness. ECIO has published information cards to raise awareness about the challenges faced by neurodivergent students along with some useful tips that may help them with their studies. These information cards are useful for teachers, counsellors, and tutors.

You can download the different information cards here: 

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