Ari Ne'eman Profile picture
PhD student in Health Policy at @Harvard. Writing a book on American disability history. Advises @ACLU on disability. Previously: @autselfadvocacy @NatCounDis
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28 May 20
Vice President Biden has just released his disability plan. There are some important policy commitments reflected within it that are worth highlighting. #CripTheVote
The plan promises to restore the Obama Administration's aggressive enforcement of disability rights law, including through Olmstead enforcement, directing DOJ to review state guardianship laws and protecting the parenting rights of people with disabilities. #CripTheVote
The Trump Administration had previously revoked DOJ guidance applying Olmstead to employment services - Biden would restore that guidance and has highlighted employment as one of the areas for Olmstead enforcement. #CripTheVote
Read 12 tweets
12 Apr 20
I don't know who I'd be or what our community would look like without Mel. I'm just at a loss for words today.
Mel was uncompromising at a time when moral compromise was the rule rather than the exception in the autism world.

Sie insisted that the neurodiversity movement include all Autistic people and is a big part of the reason it does. And sie did that without ever being mean.
Mel also was the subject of absolutely horrific harassment and abuse from people who hated hir message, and subjected hir to atrocious vitriol for it.
Read 4 tweets
17 Mar 20
From the University of Washington Medical Center resource allocation guidelines in response to COVID-19:…

We are likely to very shortly see rationing decisions with regard to scarce medical resources, especially ventilators. It is essential that we raise our voices now to ensure that this rationing does not discriminate on the basis of disability. #CripTheVote
In Italy, we are already seeing such discrimination. Some are pushing for American hospitals to adopt similar measures.… #CripTheVote
Read 16 tweets
4 Mar 20
For forty years, disability activists have fought to ban the Judge Rotenberg Center's harmful and abusive electric shock devices. This represents a big win for disability activism and human rights.…
One thing worth noting: this FDA rule prohibits the use of the JRC's form of aversive electric shock device. It doesn't (and wasn't expected to) prohibit aversives altogether. There's still a lot of activism to do on that front.
There are no circumstances where it is appropriate to subject people with disabilities, regardless of age, severity or background, to pain as a means of behavior modification.
Read 8 tweets
17 Feb 20
It remains deeply funny to me how much the pro-coercion crowd refuses (perhaps out of wish fulfillment) to acknowledge that their main opponents aren't all Szasz-ians.
It makes a certain amount of sense - much of Szasz's views are nonsensical in light of modern science. It's always easier to fight against an incompetent enemy.
But you don't have to believe mental illness isn't real to believe that HIPAA privacy rights should be maintained or that we shouldn't be making it easier to commit people against their will.
Read 4 tweets
31 Jan 20
I'm proud to have worked with a fantastic group of activists to help develop @BernieSanders's disability policy plan. (1) #CripTheVote
@BernieSanders It's an impressively comprehensive document, worth reading in all of its 13,000+ words, but there are a few items I think are particularly worth highlighting: #CripTheVote (2)
@BernieSanders The plan starts with a number of actions the executive branch can take to advance disability rights without relying on Congress. Given the current state of gridlock, that's a big deal. (3)
Read 16 tweets
2 Jan 20
This is an excellent plan, and I'm honored to have worked with a fantastic group of disability activists to consult on its development. A few highlights amidst its many details:

While the SSI program was designed to protect seniors and people with disabilities from poverty, benefit levels have long been abysmally low. @ewarren promises to fight to raise SSI benefits to the Federal Poverty Level- that's a very big deal.
@ewarren SSI has also long been subject to draconian asset and income restrictions. This plan proposes to eliminate the SSI asset test and significantly raise the amount disabled people on both SSI and SSDI can earn without losing benefits. #CripTheVote
Read 13 tweets
26 Nov 19
It's amazing to me that "fund community-based treatment and supportive housing" don't count as 'serious' solutions, but spending the same money on hospital beds somehow does?
I do suspect that a big part of the reason is that many of us misunderstand the economics of institutional vs. community-based services. #CripTheVote
For a very long time, we have promoted the idea that community-based care is cheaper. This is often true on a per capita basis when you are bringing people out of a facility, but isn't true when you're talking about creating an entitlement to service-provision. #CripTheVote
Read 11 tweets
17 Nov 19
Apparently, the @USGS is currently operating a program where autistic students act as "volunteers" for the Bureau - performing work that they would typically pay non-disabled people significant amounts of money for.… Many of the students are on the autism spectrum and have a passion for completing repetitive tasks with accuracy, precision, and close attention to detail—an invaluable asset for a science agency.  The students' efforts preserve our data and make it more accessible. As they are volunteers, they provide assistance at little cost to the Bureau.  Overall, it's a win-win for both students and scientists alike. A group of students digitized nearly 500,000 paper records of banded birds, making these records available to scientists studying biodiversity and migration. As scanning was done previously by contractors at a cost of $1 per record, the students' work is valued at roughly almost half a million dollars....
@USGS While there are a great many excellent autism & neurodiversity hiring programs, we're also seeing a disturbing trend of employers hiring #ActuallyAutistic people at below market (or no) wages and expecting us to be grateful for the opportunity.
@USGS The #ActuallyAutistic community badly needs to develop a set of ethical standards around #AutismAtWork programs, very soon.
Read 5 tweets
30 Oct 19
One of the reasons elite academic, professional and medical settings shy away from the full acknowledgement of disabled personhood is that to do so would force many to acknowledge that friends and colleagues are moral (and at times, actual) criminals.
If you are in certain settings, the belief that all disabled people, including people with intellectual disabilities, are full persons forces acknowledgement that people you know, work with and respect have done things that, in a just world, would merit serious punishment.
And so a mental process takes place:

1) I do not work with people who enable torture & murder

2) Some of my colleagues enable things that would be considered torture & murder if they were done to people.

3) The disabled people these things are done to must not then be people.
Read 10 tweets
3 Sep 19
I guess ultimately my way of approaching politics is to side with disabled people as a class.
Not to say that we're right all the time as individuals, because there are plenty of us who are misguided, obnoxious or just flat out wrong.
And even as a community, our interests certainly aren't always aligned with everyone else's in society, even when we're talking about other marginalized groups.
Read 12 tweets
24 Apr 19
While it's nice to see @Spectrum talk to #ActuallyAutistic voices, there are a couple of important factual errors and (I assume) inadvertent misrepresentations in this piece. Thread to follow.
First, because it's most important, the federal rules referenced here don't say anything about the size of the setting people live in - instead, they talk about the rights people have within a particular setting:…
I can understand how the author may have been confused on this point, since NCSA and other opponents of federal regulation in this space have repeated that (false) talking point frequently, but the actual text of the rule makes no reference to size.
Read 29 tweets
1 Feb 19
One thing I find fascinating about critics who claim that the neurodiversity movement doesn't include "severe disability" is that their main objections to our work come up when ppl w severe disabilities are our focus. (1)
We get most of our criticism from advocacy for bringing people out of institutions and sheltered workshops, promoting alternatives to guardianship, and other things designed to enhance autonomy for ppl with significant support needs. (2)
These people aren't mad that we don't include or address people with severe disabilities - they're mad that we do, and that we believe that a rights-based approach is important even if you need ongoing services to survive and thrive. (3)
Read 15 tweets
28 Oct 18
I've been grappling with why so many people I otherwise respect persist in blaming mental illness for obviously ideological political violence. I have a theory.
In large swaths of educated, "highbrow" America, we seem to have given up on the idea of good and evil as relevant concepts in political life.
There is a profound desire to believe that we all come from a common moral universe, that the things that divide us are at best misunderstandings and at worst corruption.
Read 20 tweets
23 Sep 18
This is a terrifying assault on people with disabilities, especially disabled people of color. It makes use of legal tools born of xenophobia and eugenic fear-mongering. #CripTheVote
The "public charge" statute was put into US immigration law by the Immigration Act of 1882, passed in response to a growing wave of anti-immigrant sentiment against the Irish, Chinese and other relatively new immigrant groups.
It specifically targeted “any convict, lunatic, idiot, or any person unable to take care of himself or herself without becoming a public charge" - from the very beginning, the law sought to exclude disabled people from the country. #DisHist
Read 28 tweets
31 Jul 18
In honor of #Medicaid's birthday, I'm going to do a quick thread on why I believe #MedicaidForAll makes a great deal more sense than #MedicareForAll. #Medicaid53
First, most #MedicareForAll proponents describe a health care program that looks a lot closer to Medicaid than it does to Medicare, in terms of benefits & cost-sharing.
This Vox piece from @singlepayertom and @_Middleman says #MedicareForAll should mean zero cost-sharing. Medicare doesn't work that way - Medicaid does.…
Read 19 tweets
19 Apr 18
Some thoughts on today's paper in @MolecularAutism regarding Hans Asperger's complicity in Nazi crimes against people with disabilities. (Thread)…
The paper makes a fairly compelling case that Hans Asperger was complicit in the Nazi eugenics project, using a wealth of documentary evidence that the author is to be commended for compiling. (1)
The paper has some flaws - for example, it criticizes @stevesilberman's NeuroTribes for not including this info on Asperger, when the author is very aware that the reason for this is that he declined to make his research available to Silberman. But overall, it's very solid. (2)
Read 23 tweets