True access goes beyond legal requirements; it involves thoughtful dedication to creating a culture of inclusion and understanding of all disabilities that allows everyone to perform at the highest level. The researcher with OCD, for example, said that part of the challenge of living with a mental illness is the lack of understanding. “My OCD diagnosis becomes confused with my personality and my identity,” she wrote. “I don’t want to be viewed as someone who just obsesses over things and worries.”
That stigma is why she chose to remain anonymous. Moreover, it’s hurtful when people joke about having OCD when they’re simply cleaning or working carefully. Those types of comments “make OCD out to be a preference, rather than a disorder that affects all aspects of someone's life.” This is where allies can come in: if you want to foster an environment that includes disabled scientists, don’t make jokes about real disorders.