Ari Ne'eman is not your typical presidential appointee. He's one of the youngest at 22, and he's the first that is autistic. President Obama nominated him to the National Council on Disability.
Interestingly the people who fought against his nomination are the people behind much of the public discussion about autism. From wired.com's piece on Ne'eman:
In March, the editor of an anti-vaccine website called The Age of Autism challenged Ne’eman’s ability to serve the needs of more profoundly impaired autistic people. “Do the highest functioning with the community,” wrote Kim Stagliano, “have a right to dictate the services and research that should be available for their less fortunate ‘peers?’ I don’t think so.”
Some of these online attacks escalated into threats. One anonymous emailer to a federal agency in Washington wrote that “assholes like Ari Ne’eman” should “have their tongues cut out” for suggesting that autistic people need respect, civil rights, and access to services more than they need pity and a cure.
Ne'eman has become a leader of the "neurodiversity" movement. Here's what he has to say about much of the focus of Autism activism in this country.
We need to stop making autism advocacy about trying to create a world where there aren’t any autistic people, and start building one in which autistic people have the rights and support they deserve.
Instead of trying to make autistic people normal, society should be asking us what we need to be happy.
Go read the whole thing.