Thursday, October 14, 2010

First Presidential Appointee with Autism

Ari Ne'eman was recently appointed to the President's National Council on Disability. He is the first White House appointee with Autism. His first interview was conducted with Wired magazine.

Click HERE to read the interview.

Ari is part of the President's National Council on Disability (NCD), a panel that advises the President and Congress on ways of reforming health care, schools, support services and employment policy to make society more equitable for people with all forms of disability.

Very inspiring young man. Too bad the article - or the comments after the article - didn't promote "people first" language when speaking about an individual with a disability. For more information about people first language, check out this 4 page PDF file from Kathie Snow at


  1. Mike, I really appreciate the link, thank you.

    As the author of the article, though, I'm not sure what you mean about the article not promoting the notion of "people first." I've read the PDF, and it strikes me that the interview is one of the most powerful arguments for "people first" thinking that I can imagine.

    Obviously, I'm not responsible for the comments.

  2. Ari Ne'eman has been appointed to a disabilities council even though he does not believe that autism and asperger's are disabilities as I have meticulously documented on my blog, autism's gadfly

  3. Thanks Steve for commenting. When I spoke of "people first language", I am speaking of the idea that people are not defined by their disability.

    For example, this line from the article - "Now, as the first openly autistic White House appointee in history..." - is not written in "people first language". As opposed to this sentence - "Now, as the first White House appointee who is openly autistic."

    I understand that you are not responsible for the comments that follow your article. It is too bad that comments like those are all too prevalent when we speak about people with disabilities.

    Thanks for a great article