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Nominee to Disability Council Is Lightning Rod for Dispute on Views of Autism

When President Obama nominated Ari Ne’eman to the National Council on Disability, many families touched by autism took it as a positive sign. Mr. Ne’eman would be the first person with the disorder to serve on the council.

Ari Ne’eman (Photo: Kent Adams)

Ari Ne’eman would be the first person with autism on the National Council on Disability.

But he has since become the focus of criticism from other advocates who disagree with his view that society ought to concentrate on accepting autistic people, not curing them.

A hold has been placed on Mr. Ne’eman’s nomination, which requires Senate confirmation. Whether the hold is related to the criticism of Mr. Ne’eman (pronounced NAY-men) and what it might take to lift it is unclear.

But Mr. Ne’eman, the 22-year-old founder of the Autistic Self-Advocacy Network, seems to be a lightning rod for a struggle over how autism will be perceived at a time when an estimated 1 in 100 American children and teenagers are given such a diagnosis.

Mr. Ne’eman is at the forefront of a growing movement that describes autism as a form of “neurodiversity” that should be embraced and accommodated, just as physical disabilities have led to the construction of ramps and stalls in public restrooms for people with disabilities. Autism, he and others say, is a part of their identity.

Read in Full:  http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/28/health/policy/28autism.html

White House Remains Steadfast In Support Of Disability Council Nominee

By Michelle Diament

March 29, 2010

An anonymous Senate hold hampering the first-ever nomination of a person with autism to the National Council on Disability is highlighting rifts within the autism community. But despite the political hitch, President Barack Obama remains solidly behind his nominee.

Obama nominated Ari Ne’eman, the 22-year-old founder of the Autistic Self-Advocacy Network, and seven others to the council in December 2009.

Now, The New York Times reports that under a highly secretive parliamentary move in the Senate, a hold was placed on Ne’eman’s nomination anonymously by one or more members of the body. Meanwhile, the other seven nominees were confirmed.

Read in Full:  http://www.disabilityscoop.com/2010/03/29/neeman-nomination/7473/



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