Public Policy Team Co-Lead
Ari Ne’eman serves as the Public Policy Team Co-Lead for the LEAD Center. Ne’eman is the President and co-founder of the Autistic Self Advocacy Network (ASAN), an advocacy organization run by and for Autistic adults seeking to increase the representation of Autistic people across society. He is an Autistic adult and a leading advocate in the neurodiversity and self-advocacy movements. He also serves as co-director of the LEAD Center’s Public Policy team.
In 2009, President Obama nominated Ne’eman to the National Council on Disability, a federal agency charged with advising Congress and the President on disability policy issues. He was confirmed by the Senate in July 2010 and currently chairs the Council’s Entitlements Committee. Between 2010 and 2012, Ne’eman chaired NCD’s Policy & Program Evaluation Committee. He worked to shut down the New York University Child Study Center’s “Ransom Notes” campaign and also led other successful disability community responses to offensive advertisements, including the response to the Autism Speaks “I am Autism” fundraising video. In his policy work, Ne’eman has worked on a wide variety of disability rights-related legislation relating to education, transition, employment, rights protection and other areas.
From 2010 to 2012, Ne’eman served as a public member to the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee, a federal advisory committee that coordinates all efforts within the Department of Health and Human Services concerning autism. Appointed by Governor Jon Corzine, Ne’eman served as Vice Chair of the New Jersey Adults with Autism Task Force, where he represented autistic adults in reviewing the state’s autism services. He also previously served on the New Jersey Special Education Review Commission, where he authored a minority report on the topic of aversives, restraint and seclusion. In 2008, Ne’eman served as the first ever Patricia Morrissey Disability Policy Fellow at the Institute for Educational Leadership. That year, he also received the HSC Foundation “Advocates in Disability” Award, and in 2009, he received the Expanding Horizons Award from United Cerebral Palsy. He is also a board member of TASH, an advocacy organization focusing on advancing social justice for people with significant disabilities. In addition, he was named by the New York Jewish Week as one of their “36 by 36″ in 2010. He has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Maryland-Baltimore County, where he studied political science in the Sondheim Public Affairs Scholars Program.