Ari Ne’eman nominated for National Council on Disability

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

December 16, 2009

President Obama Announces More Key Administration Posts

WASHINGTON – Today, President Barack Obama announced his intent to nominate the following individuals to key administration posts:

*         Jonathan M. Young, Chair, National Council on Disability

*         Carol Jean Reynolds, Member, National Council on Disability

*         Fernando Torres-Gil, Member, National Council on Disability

*         Chester Alonzo Finn, Member, National Council on Disability

*         Gary Blumenthal, Member, National Council on Disability

*         Sara Gelser, Member, National Council on Disability

*         Ari Ne’eman, Member, National Council on Disability

*         Dongwoo Joseph “Joe” Pak, Member, National Council on Disability

President Obama said, “I am grateful that these fine individuals have chosen to serve in my administration. They will bring a depth of experience and valued perspective to their roles, and I look forward to working with them in the months and years ahead.”

I want to first congratulate everyone who is being nominated.  I’m sure you’ll represent your communities well, and our nation well.

Ari Ne’eman, Nominee for Member, National Council on Disability

Ari Ne’eman is the Founding President of the Autistic Self-Advocacy Network, where he initiates and directs efforts to increase the representation of autistic individuals in public policy discussions.  He is a leading advocate in the neurodiversity movement, frequently briefing policymakers and speaking publicly on disability and autism policy issues. Mr. Ne’eman also serves as Vice Chair of the New Jersey Adults with Autism Task Force, where he represents autistic adults in reviewing the state’s autism services.  He also previously served on the New Jersey’s Special Education Review Commission, where he authored a minority report on the topic of aversives, restraint and seclusion.  Mr. Ne’eman previously served as the Policy Workgroup Leader for the Youth Advisory Council to the National Council on Disability. He is a board member of TASH and the Autism National Committee. In 2008, he received the HSC Foundation “Advocates in Disability” Award. Mr. Ne’eman is currently an undergraduate at the University of Maryland-Baltimore County where he  studies political science and expects to graduate in May 2010.  In 2000, Mr. Ne’eman was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome, an autism spectrum disorder.

My extra congratulations go out to Ari Ne’eman. I first got to know Ari earlier this year. He is a tender voice for our community, but also quite outspoken. I think his ideals with regard to where national policy is with respect to the Autistic community at large are spot on.  In my honest, and humble opinion, he more than deserves this spot. I’m sure there is a bright political career in front of Ari.

You can read some of what Ari has done above, and there is even more at ASANs website, link on the left column.  Today though, for those that live in the United States, I’d like you all to take the time to email your Senators on behalf of Ari.  The following is what I have sent to my two US Senators.

I’d like to encourage you to confirm President Obama’s nomination of Ari Ne’eman to the National Council on Disability. I am a 27 yr old mother who has been diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome. As well, I have two small children ages 4 and 5 who also have Autism Spectrum Disorders.

I have grown to know Mr. Ne’eman over this past year and find his character to be quite sound. He truly has the best interest of all people with Autism Spectrum Disorders, adults and children alike. He would be a valuable resource for all in this position.

Thank you very much for your time. I hope we can count on you to confirm this position.

Sincerely,

Melody Latimer

Obviously, mine is a little more personalized as I have enjoyed the company of Ari and the other ASAN leaders via their listserv, but Ari truly is one of the ‘good guys’ in the Autism spotlight. Feel free to comment or email me privately if you’d like to know more about Ari’s record or ASAN.

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