The campaigner bringing autistics to the policy table
"Ari Ne'eman rubs some people up the wrong way. Why? Because he is an outspoken autism campaigner who has risen to prominence in the US by demanding that policymakers and wider society stop trying to "fix" autistic people or "make us normal", and concentrate instead on including people with the condition in the decisions that affect their lives.
Ne'eman, who is in the UK to give a series of talks, claims that for too long even the most well-meaning advocates in the US and in Britain – including parents – have been obsessed with moulding autistic people to fit with society's expectations of "normal" behaviour.
Simultaneously lauded and vilified since founding the Autistic Self Advocacy Network (ASAN) as a teenager just out of high school in New Jersey, Ne'eman, now 23, is a polarising figure. He stirred up controversy by suggesting that more research investment be directed towards improving support for autistic people, rather than towards finding a cure to eliminate the condition". Read more: