Frequently Asked Questions

What are the deadlines to get connected with AEO?

All new-to-AEO students are strongly encouraged to schedule an access meeting and submit registration materials in advance of each upcoming term so that we have adequate time to provide effective support and timely notification to faculty. Note that accommodations cannot be implemented retroactively, and are implemented only after the request process is complete.

Our office will accept and review documentation at any point during the semester. We reccommend that students begin the process 3-4 weeks before the start of the new term to ensure timely review and...

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What is an Access Meeting, and why do I have to meet with someone in your office to receive accommodations?

Written documents do not usually give the entire picture of a student or what their experiences are. First and foremost, an interactive conversation helps our staff assess what the best services or accommodations are for a student. It also provides a time for open discussion and a chance for the student to pose questions that may not arise until speaking one-on-one in a personal setting. Students, being the experts on their disabilities, are asked to share their history of accommodation needs, current barriers in their living and learning environments, and discuss the best ways to create... Read more about What is an Access Meeting, and why do I have to meet with someone in your office to receive accommodations?

Who will know what my accommodations are?

Academic Accommodations

Students registered with AEO are given Faculty Letters to distribute to professors and other teaching staff. These letters document the accommodations the student needs in order to access the course. Additionally, the student’s current Freshman Dean or current Allston Burr Assistant Dean receives a copy of undergraduates' letters. Faculty Letters do not include a student’s disability.

 

Housing Accommodations

Housing accommodations are assessed on a case-by-case basis through AEO. House Administrators or...

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What do I do if my professor wants to know what my disability is?

You are under no obligation to share your diagnosis with faculty, you need only give your professor or Teaching Fellow your Faculty Letter from AEO stating what you will need for accommodations for the course. If a professor continues to question you about your diagnosis, please refer them to our office and we will remind them of our privacy policy.

Disclosure is always a personal decision. However, you may want to consider practicing a response to inquiries from others that not only conforms to your individual desire for privacy but also provides clarity surrounding your...

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How do special education services differ from university accommodations?

Public schools are mandated under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) to provide a free and appropriate education to public school students through the provision of special education, which includes individualized instructional modifications and related services. The laws governing special education do not apply to universities or colleges, and are replaced by the Americans with Disabilities Act (as amended in 2008), and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.

Universities and colleges must ensure that an otherwise qualified student does not encounter...

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If I am receiving accommodations and services elsewhere, will I automatically be eligible for these supports at Harvard?

No. AEO reviews all requests for accommodations and accompanying documentation on a case-by-case basis and within the context of academic and residential life at Harvard. Therefore, you may or may not qualify for the same accommodations as you received in secondary school or at other higher education institutions. Read more about If I am receiving accommodations and services elsewhere, will I automatically be eligible for these supports at Harvard?

What type of services are provided by the AEO?

AEO determines reasonable accommodations on an individual basis for students with disabilities. AEO offers consultation and accommodation management advising to students as requested. Students receive academic accommodations from faculty members and course staff directly. AEO staff also assist students by working with university faculty and staff if any difficulties arise in the implementation of accommodations. AEO may also refer a student to appropriate on and off-campus resources and services, such as tutoring, counseling, medication review and/or social services. Read more about What type of services are provided by the AEO?