DAA News Network

USA: Disabled nominee for National Council on Disability not confirmed by Senate

Posted 08/5-10 at 17.14

Ari Ne'eman is a neurodiverse university student in his early 20s, nominated by President Obama to serve on the National Council on Disability. He is the only one of the eight new nominees who is disabled and also the only one not to be confirmed by the Senate.

It is believed that his nomination has been blocked due to the lobbying from the National Autistic Association. This group is made up mainly of parents of autistic children who oppose Ne'eman because he leads a movement that sees autism as a type of neurodiversity that should be embraced, not a medical condition that demands a cure.

Rita Shreffler, executive director of the National Autism Association, who has opposed Ari's nomination, says, "The most important thing to do is get them medical treatment so they have a shot at leading a productive life. We're not going to get there by just accepting them."


Editorial comment: Although about half the members of the National Council on Disability appear to be disabled people, it is curious, not to say outrageous, that only one of eight new nominees are disabled. If this were not bad enough, the opposition to Ari Ne'eman adds an unwelcome dimension of the most blatant kind of retrograde disablist thinking. It must be challenged, but there is a positive side to this, as it provides a most superb, clear-cut example of a real-world clash of the medical and social model understandings of disability. It also shows that despite the ADA, the UN Convention and a public assumption of a more enlightened attitude towards disabled people, that even some of those closest to us still do not buy into the idea that there should be ‘Nothing About Us Without Us'.



Comment added 08/5-10 at 21.58 by: MR (anactoria987@hotmail.com)

Reading this, I remember when a lot of years ago in the university a professor had asked me about an disabled but very clever friend if he really was "normal".
Things goes on in the same direction and I am very angry with this

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