The New York Times reports HERE that Ari Ne’eman’s nomination to the President’s National Counctil on Disability is on hold. When the autism community learned that Ari Ne’eman, a 22 year old man diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome at age 12, had been nominated to represent the autism community, questions arose about his willingness and ability to speak for the broad spectrum of disability within the community.
Mr. Ne’eman is vocal advocate for self-advocacy. I know of no one opposed to self-advocacy for those who are able, despite the cries within the Neurodiversity community that we in the treatment community are “anti-autism.” The reality is that many of our loved one can not self-advocate due to the severity of their autism. We use treatments in order to elevate our children’s functioning to a place where they too can self-advocate. We bristle when we’re told that our children do not deserve treatments and research that could move them “up” the spectrum. Mr. Ne’emans organization, ASAN states:
Research priorities should focus on areas that have the most potential to improve the daily lives of Autistic people, such as communication and assistive technology, best practices in providing services and supports, and educational methodologies. Health care disparities need to be remedied and beneficial therapies made more widely available; however, the use of scientifically unproven treatments and those that focus on normalization rather than teaching useful skills should be discouraged.