One of our professors recently forwarded us a link to an article written about a college student who has been appointed to be a member of the National Council on Disability. The student’s name is Ari Ne’eman (NAY-men), and he has the diagnosis of Asperger’s. However, his views on what should be done to help people on the autistic spectrum seem to differ a bit from the mainstream.
Not a cure.
This has caused some controversy, and now his appointment to the NCD has been placed on hold.
One piece of the March 27th New York Times article, written by Amy Harmon, says:
“Why people have gotten upset is, he doesn’t seem to represent, understand or have great sympathy for all the people who are truly, deeply affected in a way that he isn’t,” said Jonathan Shestack, a co-founder of the advocacy group Autism Speaks, whose mission is to help finance research to find a cure.
Another writer, Claudia Kalb, states in her article:
“Rather than try to fix autistic people, he says society should accept their differences and help people on the spectrum function better and live more independently.”
These are, of course, just tidbits of entire articles that are filled with passionate discourse, so I encourage you to read both before you respond.
What do you think? Should there should be more emphasis on acceptance of the differences of people on the spectrum? More emphasis on function (sounds like OT to me)? Or should there also be a push for more research so that, perhaps someday, a cure may be found? Is it possible to do both?