Autism Self Advocacy: Ari Ne’eman

First Aired: 10-14-2009 -- 6 comments | Add comment
Ari Ne'eman

What does it mean to be autistic, have Asperger’s, or be on the autism spectrum? Is autism a disease to be overcome, or a difference to be embraced? Is autism advocacy like mad pride activism?

Ari Ne’eman, a person on the autism spectrum and director of the Autism Self Advocacy Network, discusses the autism movement’s challenge to what we consider “normal.”

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6 comments on “Autism Self Advocacy: Ari Ne’eman

  1. I do agree the term low functioning is a bit depressing…I prefer to say my son is “severely autistic” because that is the reality of it. He is. You can see for yourself on YouTUBE under autism and self injury or autism and seizures. I am offended by people who want to lump my son into a catagory with HF autistics who are skipping rope, playing the piano and going on talk shows. That does not help my son. Ironically, his classmates have HF down syndrome and they are a perfect match for him because they are always in his face and touching him and trying to pull him out of his shell….it’s adorable. That said, my point is I have always felt isolated having a severley autistic son with such severe behavioral and medical issues. I can’t relate to people who only know about HF autism. It’s as if they are in a totally different world than I live. Or what my son experiences.

  2. Every show I hear helps me to become a better teacher. While I may not have control as to what types of programs some students are placed in, at least I know how to better work with my students. I am hopeful that with time I will have a larger impact on our school district than just what is going on in my classroom.

  3. Hi Will!
    Thanks for organising this valuable interview with Ari on the issues of neurodiversity movement of the autistic community! Unfortunately, the world has accepted the concept of human diversity for the people with disabilities, but when it comes to the question of autism or mental illnesses, with the idea of neurodiversity or madness as beauty, the dominant non-autistic and so-called ‘normal’ world says, NO! Neurodiversity is the autism-specific explanation of human diversity and as a matter of fact, we all are different to make this planet a colourful place to enjoy.
    By the way, I’m almost a regular listener to your great speech and a supporter of mad pride movement. As a disability rights activist in Bangladesh, I’ve always been active to focus on human otherness from a holistic perspective. I believe that to focus at anything from a clinical perspective is a problematic bias and spending of negative energy that the whole world is suffering from, is due to the domination of clinical knowledge in the academic and social world, where to appreciate some thing different as natural is absent.
    In solidarity!
    (presently a research student at Dublin Institute of Technology)

  4. I’m glad to see a media source going straight to an autistic person for information about autism. Ari did an excellent job explaining misconceptions and myths about disability laid on disabled people by those who are non-disabled. One of the best ways to both encourage and respect an autistic person is to find a way to foster their passionate interests, and to turn those interests into a potential career. Autistic people need to be understood, not beaten down for who they are.

    It’s true that no one individual can speak for the entire Autistic community. That’s why it is important for all types of autistic people to be both given a voice, as well as to be involved with public policy.

    I also agree that the term low-functioning needs to be done away with, as it is offensive, and serves purposes that do not lead to a positive ends.

    Another important message Ari presented is that the current diagnostic criteria does not fully capture what an autistic adolescent or an autistic adult may present like. It really is heartbreaking how much incompetency there is on behalf of doctors, clinicians, psychiatrists, psychologists, and others who are responsible for diagnosing Autistic Spectrum Conditions. In my work, it is not uncommon to meet autistic people who have plenty of diagnosis-related horror stories. Something really needs to be done, and I do not think things will magically get better when the updated DSM V criteria for Autism Spectrum Disorder arrives in 2012.

    It’s so important for people to know that if you’ve met one autistic person, you’ve met one autistic person.

    Great second language analogy, Ari!

    Nothing About Us Without Us!

  5. During the extensive independent research I have been doing for the past nine years on the relationship to hormone imbalances and disease and disorders, I found myself doing research on Autism and Asperger’s. I would first like to introduce you all to Dr. Andrew Wakefield who was recently interviewed on 20/20 and whose medical license if being threatened.…. Take the time to do more searches for information on what’s happening to him as a result of coming out for parents who know their babies have been harmed by vaccinations. I personally have spoken to several men whose son’s were developmentally normal before they were give this vaccination.
    The American Drug Cartel will tell you that they develop drugs for the majority of the population and that they know that some people will not fare well on the drugs and that is just part of the price one pays when taking these drugs.
    Does anyone have any idea how much money is made on childhood vaccinations. If Lipotor is a $20 billion dollar drug then the MMR vacination must be worth close in the $100 billion dollar rage.
    I hate to be the bare of bad news but if you think the drug companies are in the business of finding cures for anything you are as naive as I use to be. The American Drug Cartel is so powerful even the FDA has no control over them. Look what just happened with Pfizer. They received the largest criminal fine in the history of criminal fines $2.3 billion for marketing off market drugs. These are drugs that have never been through any studies nor are they approved by the FDA. If Pfizer made less than $50 to 100 million dollars selling those off market drugs I would be surprised.
    So back to the childhood vaccinations. Yes there is a genetic factor involved which puts certain kids at risk of developing Autism and Asperger’s. It’s is my understanding that their are children who are more sensitive to drugs than other children.
    I would never advise someone not to vaccinate their children but I will tell you this I will encourage my son, when his children are born, to hold off on the vaccination until the babies brains are more developed.
    You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to see that there is an epidemic occurring in this country with Austim. Why do you think the majority of cases are boys? Could it have something to do with the developmental stage boys brains are in at the time these vaccinations are given. Is there an ethnic link. Are more children of Irish decent being damaged than say children of German decent.
    All Dr. Wakefield ask them to do was separated the vaccination which combined the three shots in one to three separate shots at different intervals.
    Dr. Andrew Wakefield is in the fight of his life to retain his medical license because he listened to what the parents were telling him about their children.
    The vaccinations have been causing nuerological damage in children since they began giving them.
    Every day the TV is loaded with advertisements for drugs that have endless disclaimers attached to them. You may go blind, have suicidal thoughts, develop any number of life threatening diseases and disorder, hell you can even develop cancer.
    The ads say it all. Synthetic drugs can kill, mane and cause death in any age group and babies are at the highest risk of being damaged.
    In 2005, I was diagnosed as learning disabled. From the time I was a very little girl I had a gift in understanding nature and science.
    When I go to the book store often times I will have a book just draw me to it. Here is one of those books
    Mirroring People by Marco Iacoboni. The New Science of How We Connect with Others. Now I bought this book because I thought it was going to be about how we attract people who are familiar to us that is how we end up in relationships with people that eventually remind of us our mothers and fathers but it was not about that at all.
    This book has excellent information on Autism. If you interested in what the American Drug Cartel is up to then you must read Melony Petersen’s book Our Daily Meds.
    Be well. The tide is about to change.

  6. I’m really excited by your comment from as far away as Bangladesh, very inspiring! Keep the faith and I’m glad to connect ~~~ Will

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