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Dispelling Myths About the OAE

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"No one really uses OAE services."

1 in 4 undergraduates and 1 in 5 graduate students are registered with our office. You are not alone! If you are struggling in your classes and think accommodations might help you, register with our office and start the conversation with our Disability Advisers.

"I'm not disabled enough for accommodations."

More than 80 percent of students registered with our office have medical conditions that you can't readily see. We serve students with depression, anxiety, asthma, chronic illness, food allergies, and so many more.

"My association with the OAE would go on my official record / transcripts."

Association with the OAE is not recorded on any part of your official record or transcript. OAE status is confidential, and we do not disclose what condition for which you receive the accommodations that we approve.

"Getting my documentation would be too expensive."

Vaden and CAPS are available to all students, even if you don't have Cardinal Care. Both offices are very familiar with providing documentation for our office. A list of low-cost psychological services can be found on the CAPS website. In addition, the Financial Aid Office often provides financial support for medical expenses. Please consult with the Financial Aid Office or fill out their medical/dental expense form. If this is not an option for you for some reason, just talk to us! We will work with you.

"People in my community don't do therapy."

The need for therapy and other kinds of mental health care is often stigmatized in our home communities. Even though our families love us, they believe other options will better help us with our problems. It's okay to seek help from a variety of sources and find out what works best for you in your own cultural context. Furthermore, OAE status is confidential and we do not share it with anyone without your permission (with very few exceptions for legal reasons).

"The OAE can't help grad students."

1 in 5 grad students are registered with the OAE. Masters? PhD? JD? MD? MBA? The OAE works with all grad students at Stanford. Get the support you need, whether it's in the classroom, the lab, or on field sites.

"I don't have time to meet with the OAE to obtain accommodations."

Registering with the OAE is quick and easy via OAE|Connect. Even if you don't have documentation yet, you can still start the process with us. For most students, meeting with a Disability Adviser takes less than an hour, and one meeting is all you may need for the rest of the year. You can also request a Zoom meeting if that is more comfortable or convenient for you. Furthermore, if your needs don't change, you can renew the same accommodations each year.

"Accommodations are special treatment / a courtesy."

Sometimes others tell us that students with disabilities are receiving 'unfair' advantages, and we may end up internalizing that belief ourselves. Accommodations ensure that students have the access they need to enable them to perform at their optimal ability. Accommodations aren't a courtesy or a favor - they are a civil right.

"The OAE only provides extra time on tests."

The Office of Accessible Education provides an array of accommodations, related to both academics and housing. Some academic accommodation examples include a reduced course load, notetaking assistance, assignment extensions, and many more. Possible housing accommodations include removing the carpet in your dorm, approving a change of bed for a back condition, or accommodating your allergies in the kitchen.

"Once I get to grad school, I shouldn't need accommodations anymore."

Entering grad school doesn't make our disabilities go away. Accessing appropriate accommodations can make a distinct difference in students' experience of grad school. 1 in 5 grad students are registered with our office. You are not alone in using accommodations.

"I don't consider myself disabled."

The OAE serves students with a wide range of medical conditions. Are you allergic to the carpet in your dorm? The OAE can help. Anxiety preventing you from completing your assignment? Talk to the OAE. You don't have to consider yourself 'disabled' to qualify for help.

"The OAE is going to judge me if I ask for help."

Our office is here to support you in the academic and housing settings. We are not here to judge you, your medical condition, or your story. We only want to help you achieve equity during your Stanford experience. The OAE works with students with a wide range of disabilities and conditions, both chronic and temporary. You are not alone in your experience, nor are you the first to experience the impact of a disability on your academic life. Come talk to us - we're here for you.