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Ne’eman nomination blocked; Autism views spark controversy

March 29th, 2010

From the New York Times:

A parliamentary hold has been placed on the nomination of autism self-advocate Ari Ne’eman to the National Council on Disability amid a growing controversy about his views. President Obama’s seven other nominees to the council were confirmed by the Senate this month.

Ne’eman, 22, has a diagnosis of Asperger syndrome and is the founder of the Autistic Self-Advocacy Network. He has said that autism is a naturally occurring form of “neurodiversity” that should be embraced and accommodated, not cured. Critics, including the co-founder of the advocacy group Autism Speaks, say Ne’eman’s view fails to represent individuals on the autism spectrum who lack basic communication and self-care skills.

Historically, the kind of genetic research supported by many parents of children with autism, Mr. Ne’eman has said, has been used to create prenatal tests that give parents the ability to detect a fetus affected by a particular condition, like Down syndrome, so that they can choose whether to terminate the pregnancy.

“We just think it makes more sense to orient research to addressing health problems or helping people communicate rather than creating a mouse model of autism or finding a new gene,” Mr. Ne’eman has said.

Earlier posts here.

(Photo from “No Myths” PSA)

One Response to “Ne’eman nomination blocked; Autism views spark controversy”

  1. Harold L Doherty Says:

    Mr. Ne’eman is a very high functioning person with Aspergers Disorder who wrongly purports to speak on behalf of all persons with autism spectrum disorders including the severely autistic with whom he has very little in common. He also shows a lack of respect for parents and families fighting to treat and cure their own children of their autism disorders, conditions which, unlike Mr. Ne’eman condemn many to lives in institutional care.

    In your quote Mr. Ne’eman typically paints a narrow view of autism cure oriented research. Many parents AND the IACC today endorse the need to conduct environmentally focus research aimed at finding all causes and hopefully cures for autism.

    Mr. Ne’eman has publicly stated that his Aspergers is not a disability and that autism is not a disability and yet he seeks appointment to a disability council. He has described attempts to cure autism as morally reprehensible. Such attempts are typically advocated by parents trying to help their children.

    It is Mr. Ne’eman’s self promoting opposition to autism cure and parental rights and responsibilities which are morally reprehensible.

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