Ari Ne’eman appointed to National Council on Disability

22 Jun

Ari Ne’eman has been appointed to the National Council on Disability. This will make him the first autistic member of the Council. Mr. Ne’eman is the Founding President of the Autistic Self Advocacy Network (ASAN).

I have been checking the Senate Calendar periodically to monitor the status of his nomination, which was on hold. When I found his name was no longer on the calendar, I did a quick google search and round Senate Confirms Controversial Autism Self-Advocate To National Disability Council. Disability Scoop notes that Mr. Ne’eman’s appointment was unanimously approved by the Senate.

Earlier this year, Mr. Ne’eman was appointed to the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee.

32 Responses to “Ari Ne’eman appointed to National Council on Disability”

  1. Katie June 22, 2010 at 20:57 #

    Yes! Finally!

  2. Clay June 22, 2010 at 21:39 #

    “The confirmations come after news earlier this week that Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., secured the votes to change the Senate rules to bar holds from being placed anonymously.”

    Looks like this (the above) had something to do with the logjam finally being broken. Anonymous holds were BS. Glad to see some good news on this, although there are some who will will be provoked to rage about it. Tough noogies on them, this is a good thing!

  3. Norton Gunthorpe June 22, 2010 at 22:19 #

    Mr Ne’eman will certainly bring the experience of young, East Coast liberal from a wealthy and influential family, to the Council’s deliberations.

    Quite how he proposes to represent the interests of the 30 million American’s with PDD’s remains to be seen.

    I don’t think expressing reservations about the appointment of a young man, barely out of college, from a privileged and cosseted background to sit on a board composed of people, some of whom have profound and deeply challenging disabilities, is really off-key at all.

    I have to say on reflection that his appointment seems inexplicable, save by the Agency of Knowing the Right People.

    Washington Politics at its most venal. As Pindar rightly pointed out “With one good, the immortals give two woes”. Or perhaps more pertinently, “Beware of Geeks bearing gifts”.

    • Sullivan June 22, 2010 at 23:17 #

      Norton Gunthorpe,

      interesting new (to me, at least) method of attacking Mr. Ne’eman.

      I would suggest that you could get some facts correct. There are not 30 million American’s with PDD’s. That would put the prevalence at about 10%.

  4. Norton Gunthorpe June 22, 2010 at 23:30 #

    Good Heaven’s! It’s not an attack. It’s a perfectly polite and reasonable ???????.

    A typical member of the NCoD Board:

    Lonnie C. Moore, Mr. Moore currently serves as a Program Analyst for the Army Warrior Transition Office, where he writes policy and makes recommendations to improve care and transition for wounded and ill soldiers.

    He also serves as the Western Chair for the Secretary of Veteran’s Affairs Service Members and Families Council. Mr. Moore was combat-wounded in Iraq, where he led more than 60 combat missions.

    And of course there’s

    Chester A. Finn, a Special Assistant with the New York State Office of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities (OMRDD), providing services, supports, and advocacy to individuals with development disabilities and their families; in October 2009 he was appointed to the OMRDD’s Leadership Team.

    He is also President of the national board of Self-Advocates Becoming Empowered, Board Advisor to the Self Advocacy Association of New York State (SANYS), and a member of the Justice for All Action Networking Streaming Committee.

    Mr. Finn is also an active member of the Board of Directors for the ARC of the United States, the world’s largest community based organization of and for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

    Mr. Finn is blind and a person with a developmental disability and is committed to fighting for the civil rights of all people with disabilities.

    It is not an attack to suggest that in an unflattering light, Mr Ne’eman’s experience looks a little translucent and that his gravitas is currently rated by Standard and Poor’s as Ætheral.

    And it is not an attack to suggest that his preferment is the result of world-class networking skills and his huge stock of Social Capital. I take my hat off to him. It is without a doubt a fine start to what will a long career in Public Service.

    And it is not an attack to question how he is to represent the 3 million Americans with significantly greater challenges than him.

    (I will claim publicly, a slip of the “0” key. But thank you for the correction.)

    • Sullivan June 23, 2010 at 00:05 #

      Come on. Claiming that he can’t serve because his family is well off (something I actually don’t know). There are wealthy people in this country who have done a lot to further disability rights.

      So, yes, given that your comment lacked substance, I saw it as an attack rather than a valid criticism.

      I do appreciate you coming back to add some substance. In response to that, I will ask, can you tell me if any of the other members of the NCD have complained that Mr. Ne’eman might join their ranks? If they aren’t, I would assert that you are using them (the other NCD members) inappropriately to bolster your argument.

  5. Norton Gunthorpe June 22, 2010 at 23:33 #

    This is most woeful. This blog does not support Greek characters. I am bereft. The Greek word for critique was replaced by ??????

  6. Joseph June 22, 2010 at 23:56 #

    And it is not an attack to question how he is to represent the 3 million Americans with significantly greater challenges than him.

    It might not be an attack, but I do think it’s nonsense. I could very well ask how, say, Barack Obama is able to represent 150 million Americans with significantly greater challenges than he.

    I can also wonder if it’s realistic to expect that someone with more “representative” PDD challenges would get appointed to the same position. Who do you have in mind that would be a lot more representative and who would be willing and able to do the required work?

  7. Norton Gunthorpe June 23, 2010 at 00:35 #


    It is indeed unlikely that a more severely affected person would be able to engage in advocacy work at this level.

    I’m not sure the Obama analogy works. The president had a relatively unprivileged, varied and cosmopolitan upbringing. He is also considerably older and more experienced that Mr Ne’eman.

    I posit the question in all good faith “What does Mr Ne’eman know of the reality of life for people like yourself, or the owner of this blog?”

    I have just read an heart-wrenching post by Casdok, about her son’s admission to hospital. What does Mr Ne’eman know about mothers like her?

    Sullivan, I really cannot see any immorality nor side in comparing and contrasting the the Curriculum Vitæ of the various board members.

    I have asked equally probing questions of John Elder Robison, regarding his competence to sit on the scientific advisory board of the egregious Autism Speaks.

  8. Joseph June 23, 2010 at 01:09 #

    I’m not sure the Obama analogy works. The president had a relatively unprivileged, varied and cosmopolitan upbringing. He is also considerably older and more experienced that Mr Ne’eman.

    An apt rebuttal, considering Mr. Ne’eman is running for president. No, wait, he’s not.

    So I’m guessing you’re not aware that Mr. Ne’eman was in a segregated special education program?

    I have just read an heart-wrenching post by Casdok, about her son’s admission to hospital. What does Mr Ne’eman know about mothers like her?

    About as much as any other appointee who is not a mother, I guess. But let’s also remember he’s not there to represent mothers.

  9. Sullivan June 23, 2010 at 01:28 #

    Norton Gunthorpe,

    Why would you see immorality? I have not accused you of such.

    What I accused you of is inappropriately using other people’s positions to bolster your own argument. If they have not made any complaints, it is not your place to imply that Mr. Ne’eman does not compare to them. It is not whether you make “probing questions” but the methods you use to make them.

    That said,

    I posit the question in all good faith “What does Mr Ne’eman know of the reality of life for people like yourself, or the owner of this blog?”

    First, no one knows the reality of my life or that of my kid other than me and my kid. Some can have some understanding of that reality, and that is what I hope all the members of the NCD have to one extent or another.

    Second, groups like the NCD and others work on public comments, not just the input from the members. If you want the NCD to know about your “reality”, why not tell them?

    Which begs the question–how many people who have been complaining about Mr. Ne’eman’s appointment had even heard of the NCD a year ago?

  10. livsparents June 23, 2010 at 02:15 #

    If we excused everyone of privledge from public service, the halls of most governments seats would be near empty. Ditto excusing those with no experience, not that I thing that Ari is inexperienced, but no one can overcome youth. Some of the greatest statesmen were handed their positions on silver platters; we shall indeed see over the course of the next three years whether Ari has what it takes to thrive in Washington. I wish him the best of luck, he is now representing the autism community, like it or not…

  11. Savannah Logsdon-Breakstone June 23, 2010 at 08:13 #

    Congratulations to Ari!

    Honestly, It is a good thing to see one Young Adult on this council. There are needs in the “Youth” community that are being more and more recognized as important to involve young people in helping, and that he made it is a step forward.

    Maybe someday we will get to the point where someone without the advantages of background can get a similar position, but we aren’t there yet. And if we refuse to take a step forward, we will never reach that point. So to try and use a privileged background against someone breaking other barriers is a little odd. (And in case you are wondering, I come from an economically unprivileged- by US standards- background.)

    In any case, I have full trust that he will do a wonderful job on this council, and will help make America more accessible for all Americans with disabilities- and by extension, all Americans.

  12. Sullivan June 23, 2010 at 15:06 #

    Norton Gunthorpe,

    were you aware that Mr. Ne’eman has been working with the NCD’s Youth Advisory Council since 2007?

    Perhaps that and his work with ASAN were involved with his appointment?

  13. Theo June 23, 2010 at 17:33 #

    I am quite happy to hear this, and more than a tadbit jealous… *blushes*

    Congradulations Ari!! I hope to, one day, with hard work and a whole lot of elbow grease (please forgive horrible analogy…) be able to join you on that council. Till then, you can count on my back up in the state of MO, and continue to remind my fellow commisoners on the MO Autism Commission “Nothing about us, with out us!!”

    In particular, I am adressing a major short coming in that there are so many with Aspergers right now who fall through the cracks. They are said to have to high of an IQ to get state services, yet they can’t get the help they need from places like Judevine unless they go through the state. It’s a catch 22 situaction, one that is unfair.

    I have seen far to many friends with such intelligence and such potential sit behind closed doors day after day, with no one to help them navigate the world and help with social anxities and issues. They have no help in learning how to find employment, get into school, how to be more independent. And it breaks my heart. I will continue to stand up and be the voice for that cause.

    Once again, congradulations! I know you will make us all proud!

  14. Theo June 23, 2010 at 17:38 #

    to clarify, I meant when talking about seeking employment, dealing with the little social cues in interviews and what to say and such. My better half, if he has never done something before, will refuse to even attempt it unless he has someone who understands AS walk him through it.

    How to be more independent…what I meant by that is how to deal with social anxieties and sensory issues in a way that they can learn to look past them to do ordinary things like grocery shop. My better half still has terrible issues grocery shopping due to all the noise and the sensory and the people.

    I hope that clarifys!!

  15. Edgar June 23, 2010 at 18:51 #

    Woop woop!

    Mr. Ne’eman may not know from personal experience what it’s like to be underprivileged, but that’s not the primary focus of the National Council on Disability, is it?
    Fact is, he knows what it’s like to be autistic, and is going to defend the rights of autistic people & promote understanding.
    Perhaps he would not have got the position had he been from a different background, but that can only be a criticism of system through which he got there, and not of him as an individual.

    Furthermore, I don’t think youth should be a disqualifying factor. Experience is all well and good, but it’s not the only thing that’s important; and if someone has demonstrated that they are intelligent & know what they’re talking about, why should youth be relevant?

    I find it very reassuring that in the midst of all the contemporary popular autism-phobic rhetoric & campaigning, a sensible & understanding representative has been given an official position.
    We need people like Mr. Ne’eman to remind the public that the rights of autistic people are not trumped by the wishes of misguided parents.

  16. L Capella June 26, 2010 at 22:32 #

    With all due respect to Mr Gunthorpe I would contend that Ne’eman’s appointment is better than what was previously there. The NCD under the Bush administration had no neurologically disabled/ neurodiverse people on the panel and representation was provided by a parent of a child with special educational needs who himself was not disabled. So although Ari Ne’eman may not be the perfect representative in terms of representation he is still a step forward. Who knows if all in future maybe the NCD will get a neurodiverse parent with just as good credentials that Ne’eman has, if all goes well.

  17. Katie June 26, 2010 at 23:24 #

    Also, the NCD has what, 15 members or something like that? Obviously every disability cannot be “represented”. People are chosen based on their qualifications and past experience, of which Ari’s are impressive for a person of any age. Can you imagine what would happen if there was a “representative” on the NCD for every variation on every disability in the United States? There would be more people than there are in the House of Representatives, and nothing would every get done! In reading the brief bios of the NCD members, it seems most do have one or more specific areas of expertise, but are active in the cross-disability rights movement, working towards equal rights for all, and that’s a good thing!

  18. stanley seigler June 27, 2010 at 23:24 #

    [sullivan say] Come on. Claiming that he can’t serve because his family is well off (something I actually don’t know). There are wealthy people in this country who have done a lot to further disability rights.

    cant serve family well off…well then lets forget FDR and JFK…specific and more important many of my daughters hands on support have been children of the privileged…and were/are most compassionate.

    tho misdirected in many areas the rich Autism Speaks folks have done some good….

    stanley seigler

  19. Nathan Young November 3, 2011 at 10:39 #

    I have autism and am part of the Regional Center where I live. The reason I say Autistic Self-Advocacy Network (ASAN) does not represent my views and those who do not choose to associate is because of their approaches. It’s not because everything they stand for is wrong it’s because they alienate really good ideas with very bad approaches. Using abortion politics to make demands toward tax-payers for services estranges the needs of real people and estranging compassion as pity in protests signs is just wrong. Caring people are called Nazi’s, their intents manipulated as if they meant harm and I just cannot ethically not speak against the propaganda because I think it’s wrong to warp others intention and everyone should be treated fairly.

    ASAN needs to invent into the intentions of others so much to continue it’s PR game and it got them a nomination by a political party and this is not the first time an elected figure has done so. I am so tired of being expected to dumb myself down and go along for the ride as they manipulate what others say and to me it is a moderate amount of time farfetched as if I shouldn’t be expected to think as an independent self-advocate otherwise less I am and others detractors. Everyone deserves respect and when disagreements happen I believe there should be a diverse conversation going on and not just a group who has used abortion politics to force their views representing the self-advocacy community. People in the middle who actually listen to both sides are not often in the media nor are they allowed to speak through the self-advocacy network known as ASAN because the views are dictated and it’s not a true self-advocacy network in the diverse sense.

    Neurodiversity simply denotes a diversity exists. As a concept it does not dictate how each individual of a diversity shall think, believe and choose.

    Nathan Young
    Humboldt County, CA

  20. Clay November 3, 2011 at 11:42 #

    Nathan, you’re really not as intellectual as you think you are, (or pretend to be), so you don’t have to “dumb yourself down”. It just isn’t necessary.

  21. Nathan Young November 3, 2011 at 11:43 #

    Typical put down by a pride advocate for disagreeing.

  22. Clay November 3, 2011 at 11:48 #

    If and when you can make some sense, I might agree with you about something.

  23. Nathan Young November 3, 2011 at 11:52 #

    I’m not posting anymore to you as I know who you are. You sit behind your Pc and belittle those who disagree with you and amount them to being dumb and think of yourself as superior. Then just say you don’t understand as if it’s because the person your putting down is to dumb in the first place. I have no interest in your agreeing with me nor interest in furthering a non-productive discussion with someone that belittles. I’ve talked about the issues to hundreds of others and professionals in the field without that nonsense.

  24. Clay November 3, 2011 at 20:05 #

    You don’t “know who I am”, all you know is that we’ve clashed before. Far better to be a “pride advocate” than a “pity advocate” who attempts to make a living by pulling the “local boy makes good in spite of his crushing disability” card. Go back to making and selling your candles and supporting Autism Speaks. I’ll give you a little credit for knowing when to cut your losses. Bye.

  25. Nathan Young November 3, 2011 at 23:21 #

    Your a very emotionally intolerant bully that needs an attitude adjustment. Instead of hiding behind the computer why don’t you be a man and do some public debate with me. I want to make an example out of you as for pride you will hide the truth and belittle others and it’s an injustice.

  26. Clay November 4, 2011 at 10:50 #

    Nah, not interested. I’m tired of arguing with chuckleheads.
    So ya know, the fact that you’re an autistic who supports Autism Speaks automatically puts you in the wrong. Not logical, unless your only motivation is the money you get from your involvement with them. (They draw crowds, where you can appear with your wares and pity schtick.)

  27. Nathan Young November 4, 2011 at 18:21 #

    People like yourself imagine and contrive and without merit emotionally abuse other people. So intolerant of others disabilities and others helping them they just call it pity. I find that to be lacking humanity and human depth. I have not done business with Autism Speaks and am quite frankly TIRED of people like you who are so obsessed with the world-view it is either your side or the rest of the world being Autism Speaks territory. It’s very poor leadership, destructive and abusive toward others, evading of compassion and in the stubbornness lacking of progress. People don’t take you seriously because your stuck and especially when all you do is call things pity because YOU have problems with emotions and human feeling. People caring is like the wicked witch of the west getting water on her skin and it makes you melt. It’s ok to care about people, help people and show emotions and I sure as hell hope human kind does not evolve in your direction because to love would be to pity.

    It’s a sickness and I’ve showed your comments to a few others and it pisses them off. I can only hope you either snap out of it or be a man and quite hiding behind your PC and go public. Just no integrity and no honor in it.

  28. Clay November 4, 2011 at 18:38 #

    I know more about you than most would, because of previous conversations, but if anyone who happens to read this would click on your name and look at the links on your website, they would quickly see your deep involvement with AutSpeaks. The rest of your rant here just shows you’re full of shit. No truth in it.

  29. Nathan Young November 4, 2011 at 18:44 #

    Another one of your conspiracy theories. I won’t be forced to think and do as you do so therefore “I’m one of them”, “I’m dumb” and “I’m full of it”. The only involvement I’ve had with you is going on email list and telling others of a work program I put together and some nasty pride advocates call them “pity candles”. It’s nasty, extremism and harmful. I’ve had no involvement with Autism Speaks and I am a person with autism speaking that does not abide by your specific demands to believe and so as you want. Your very emotionally abusive and manipulative and quite frankly looking at Autism Speaks they don’t seem to be as mean as you nor are others you radicals speak against. And since I don’t buy into the propaganda and think for myself I must be “one of them”. Your approach defining everything as pity you don’t agree with is not only nasty but shameful. I wouldn’t want anything to do with you or that extremism pride and I’m not the only person with autism who has experienced your and others bullying. If anything you make Autism Speaks look good with out of this world and redicilious approaches to matters you and some others do.


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