President Barack Obama's disability nominee Ari Ne'eman is facing questioning concerning his view that autism is a socially created disability not a medical disorder or disability and his well known opposition to curing autism disorders and to investing in cure oriented autism research. His representative character as an autism spokesperson is also questioned in light of the fact that he has an Aspergers diagnosis, was only diagnosed at age 12, and is very high functioning:
" According to your website you received a diagnosis of Asperger’s Syndrome at the age of twelve, you also appear to be a very articulate young man attending college and launching a successful career. Please explain how your circumstances equip you to understand and represent low-functioning people with autism and their caregivers?"
Age of Autism sets out the letter from John Gilmore of the Autism Action Network, formerly A-Champ, requesting clarification on Mr. Ne'emans views. Age of Autism also reports Mr. Ne'eman's statement that he is at present unable to address these concerns as he is following White House orders not to speak publicly on these important issues pending completion of the confirmation process:
" I was asked recently by the White House to avoid any further public appearances and speaking to the media until after my confirmation process is complete and I was checking with them as to whether or not it would be acceptable for me to respond to the questions you have sent. Regrettably, they've asked that I avoid answering any questionnaires not provided to me by Senate offices as part of the confirmation process. As a result, I cannot submit my responses right now."
I am not sure why a well educated young man of obvious high intelligence, excellent communication skills and advanced social skills that enable him to function so well in Washington World even has an Asperger's diagnosis let alone feels entitled to speak as a representative of those severely disabled by Autistic Disorder deficits, those who can barely communicate, with or without any assistive technology, those who injure themselves seriously out of frustration, perish as a result of being lost in a snow storm or live out their lives in institutional care. The New Yorker Magazine's face of autism is doing well hanging out with his Washington buddies but he does not resemble in any way people with severe Autistic Disorder.
President Obama's appointment of a media star, anti autism cure, very high functioning university student with Aspergers does not auger well for future research aimed at understanding the causes of autism and future treatments and cures. When it comes to hoping for some real autism science, some cause and treatment oriented autism research President Obama has spoken loud and clear by nominating as a disability representative a creation of the media elite. He has clearly told parents hoping for cures for their children "NO YOU CAN'T".