Accessible Education Office (click to go to home page)
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1350 Massachusetts Avenue
The Richard A. & Susan F. Smith Campus Center, Fourth Floor
Cambridge MA 02138
tel: 617-496-8707 - fax: 617-496-1098 - tty: 617-496-3720

Serving Harvard College and GSAS Students
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About our Services \ Info for Students \ Info for Faculty \ About our Office \ Sitemap spacer
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Info for Students
+ Register with AEO
+ Clinical Documentation
    Additional Information:
    - AEO's Review Process
    - Confidentiality & Disclosure

+ Your Responsibilities

+ Your Responsibilities
+ Admissions Information
+ The Transition to College
+ Know your Rights
+ Grievances
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INFORMATION FOR STUDENTS

Many students making the transition to a fast paced university environment may have had significant previous assistance from professionals and family members in obtaining necessary services related to the impacts of disabilities and health problems. Whether communicating about an established or newly acquired disability, students may be faced with discussing quite personal information with strangers, perhaps for the first time.

It is clear that such discussions would best be held with those already familiar with disability-related services at the University. It is widely held that the planning which is required for students to function smoothly in an academic setting is best done in situations where the student and university representatives sit down together early, building a team approach to planning accommodations which are realistic, practical, and most useful. This approach well serves the students, faculty and staff who need to be involved in the discussion.

Each person with a pre-existing disability has worked out over time mechanisms and strategies for coping with the challenges of academic life; and those with newly acquired health difficulties may not be aware of some effective strategies designed to maximize their time at the University. Even though students may have disabilities which seem to be quite similar, individuals have the right to differing accommodations based upon their own training and experience. Some disabilities, often referred to as "invisible disabilities," may not be obvious to the casual observer, but may in fact require significant accommodations. Further, the acuity of these situations may change without warning. A disability which is neither seen nor understood is no less credible.

While course requirements that are essential to academic requirements are allowed by law, even when they might have the effect of discriminating against persons with disabilities, Harvard encourages discussions between students and faculty or appropriate staff to work out agreements which are beneficial to both students with particular needs and the requirements of courses. Appropriate accommodations can allow all students equally to demonstrate their ability and knowledge in courses.

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