Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Senate Hold on NCD Nominee with Autism

An anonymous Senate member has placed a “hold” on President Obama's nomination of Ari Ne'eman (pronounced NAYmen) to the National Council on Disability (NCD). The hold prevents the nomination from being sent to the Senate floor for a vote. Mr. Ne'eman , the 22 year old founder of the Autistic Self-Advocacy Network, has Autism and is high-functioning. When—and if— confirmed, he will be the first person with Autism to serve on the NCD.

Some critics are concerned about Ne'eman's youth and lack of experience, but others have more specific concerns. Jonathan Shestack, co-founder of Autism Speaks, a group dedicated to financing cure-based Autism research and the largest Autism advocacy group in the US, says about Ne’eman, “…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”. Ne’eman has also organized protests over one of the group’s fund-raising videos.

The Senate recently confirmed President Obama’s other seven NCD nominees.


Ari Ne’eman and the Controversy Over an Autism Cure


Nominee to Disability Council Is Lightning Rod for Dispute on Views of Autism


Wednesday, March 17, 2010

National Council on Disability Nominees

Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chairman of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, announced last week the Committee had approved nominations to fill positions at the National Council on Disability and other federal agencies. The nominees now move to the full Senate for confirmation.

The nominees for NCD membership are:

  • Gary Blumenthal of Massachusetts
  • Chester Alonzo Finn of New York
  • Sara A. Gelser of Oregon
  • Ari Ne'eman of Maryland
  • Dongwoo Joseph Pak of California
  • Carol Jean Reynolds of Colorado
  • Fernando Torres-Gill of California
  • Jonathan M. Young of Maryland

Monday, March 15, 2010

2010 Vancouver Paralympic Winter Games Open

The 2010 Vancouver Paralympic Winter Games, one of the largest global athletic events, began March 12 and continue through March 21. This year, about 600 athletes from 40 different countries are competing for medals this year. In the photo (right), Canadian cross-country skier Colette Bourgonje wins Canada's first 2010 Paralymic medal finishing with a silver in the 10km sitting event.

According to the Summit Daily News in Breckenridge, Colorado, NBC will run a two-hour highlights show on April 10 at 1:00 PM, while Universal Sports will broadcast a nightly two-hour show for nine straight nights from March 15 through March 23 at 4:00 PM, repeating at 9:00 PM. To see if you have Universal Sports coverage, visit http://www.universalsports.com/.
Paralympic Sport TV will also broadcast live and delayed coverage on http://www.paralympicsport.tv/. For additional information visit http://www.vancouver2010.com/paralympic-games.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Director James Cameron Called to Start Disability Conversation

Readers, I want to share with you an article by Anna Mai Bertelsen, who blogged today about “Why James Cameron Should Start of Conversation on Disabilities” on today’s Huffington Post. Ms. Bertelsen posits that societally, we engage in a “don’t’ ask, don’t’ tell” de facto policy about disabilities that creates such an encompassing avoidance of things disability that people with disabilities are sidelined from a many if not most of the opportunities that enrich the lives of people without disabilities. She then calls on James Cameron, director of the blockbuster movie Avatar, an action-hero movie in which a character with paraplegia is the lead, to start a conversation about disability and break through the “don’t ask, don’t tell” barrier.

Ms. Bertelsen closes with a challenge the director to “…do something about the lack of chatter. Start it. You have the stage. Break our own version of "don't ask, don't tell." Share your story of creating a solution. Encourage the audience and your Hollywood counterparts to be part of the conversation. Talk to us. Look at us. Ask questions. And, then, let's innovate, invest and include.”

LINK: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/anne-mai-bertelsen/why-james-cameron-should_b_487160.html

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Today is National Spread the Word to End the Word Day

Condensed Release From the Office of Texas State Senator Judith Zaffirini--
Wednesday (March 3) is National “Spread the Word to End the Word” Awareness Day, offering us a rich opportunity to focus on using respectful language for persons with intellectual disabilities by eliminating the “R-word.”

Our efforts were bolstered recently when an American Psychiatric Association review panel unveiled proposed revisions to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, an influential guidebook in the mental health field. One recommended change favored by the panel is particularly overdue: eliminating all variations of the word "retarded" and replacing them with respectful language referencing persons with intellectual disabilities...
To find out how you can help promote respectful language, visit http://www.r-word.org/. More than 70,000 persons have visited the site and pledged to support eliminating the R-word in their everyday speech.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Joan Durocher New Interim Head of NCD

WAHINGTON, DC-- Joan M. Durocher is the new interim Executive Director of the National Council on Disability. She will serve through September 11, 2010 or until NCD appoints a permanent Executive Director is appointed.

NCD is a federal agency charged with making recommendations to the President and Congress to enhance the quality of life for all Americans with disabilities and their families.

Joan Durocher has served NCD for over eight years, most recently as a Senior Attorney Advisor. She has managed NCD products with wide-ranging impact, such as “Foreign Policy and Disability: Legislative Strategies and Civil Rights Protections to Ensure Inclusion of People with Disabilities” and “Finding the Gaps: A Comparative Analysis of Disability Laws in the United States to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities”.

For a more detailed description of Ms. Durocher’s accomplishment and qualifications, please visit: http://www.ncd.gov/ or contact NCD's Director of Public Affairs, Mark S. Quigley, at mailto:mquigley@ncd.gov_ or 202-272-2004.