“We are still behind Mr. Ne’eman and hope for a quick confirmation,” a senior White House official told Disability Scoop on Monday.
...Many parents whose children are far more adversely affected by autism than Ne’eman pounced when they learned of his nomination to the National Council on Disability, which makes recommendations to the president and Congress on disability issues. Some at Autism Speaks have also publicly criticized the nomination.
Nonetheless, more than a dozen disability advocacy groups including the Autism Society of America, Easter Seals, Special Olympics and the American Association of People with Disabilities have expressed support for Ne’eman’s appointment.
Those close to Ne’eman say they’re trying not to read too much into the Senate hold. “It’s all kind of speculative,” says Scott Michael Robertson, who is vice president of Ne’eman’s Autistic Self-Advocacy Network. “I think it may just be politics as usual.”
Parents whose kids are severely affected by the disorder want autism to go away for good. At the very least, they want their children—many of whom are incapable of feeding themselves and using the toilet—to get better. Ne’eman, they charge, can’t possibly understand this and he shouldn’t be appointed a representative for the entire spectrum. The National Council on Disability, however, isn’t interested in genetic research; it’s purpose is to “promote policies, programs, practices, and procedures that guarantee equal opportunity for all individuals with disabilities, and that empower individuals with disabilities to achieve economic self-sufficiency, independent living, and inclusion and integration into all aspects of society.” This is exactly the kind of dry, laborious and important work that gets Ne’eman so excited. Opposing his nomination won’t get anybody closer to a cure; instead, it could deny a passionate advocate the unique opportunity to lobby for autism rights and opportunities at the very highest levels.