Thursday, June 25, 2009

June 30: Protest Ohio's funding of institutions/nursing homes and Ohio's funding cuts for community-based living supports

ASAN-Central Ohio/Ohio State is trying to gather as many people as possible to attend a protest on Tuesday, June 30. The event has been organized by Sue Hetrick and other disability organizations to protest Ohio's funding of institutions/nursing homes while cutting funding for community-based living services. (See more details below.)

ASAN-Central Ohio will be meeting at the campus Barnes & Noble on Tuesday morning at 9:00am to make some signs. We will then bus down to the state house for one or two hours (and those who wish to stay longer may do so).

If you are interested in joining our group, please leave a comment or email us at by Monday, June 29.




When: Tuesday, June 30
Where: Ohio Statehouse, Third Street Side, Columbus
When: 8:30AM to 5 with “primetime” from 11AM to 2PM
Who: People with Any Disability, the Elderly, families, friends, advocates, and concerned Ohio taxpayers

Bring a chair, blanket, water, lunch, sunscreen or raingear! Be prepared for a peaceful demonstration, but one that is persistent and vocal!

This is not a RALLY it is a PROTEST!

Note: As this is a grassroots demonstration no one group or individual can or will be responsible for attendant care though attendees are usually willing to support their brothers and sisters in this fight! Signs are permitted and encouraged -- however, they cannot be attached to sticks or poles!

Contact: Sue Hetrick 866-575-8055

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Autistic Pride Day, Wednesday, June 17, 9:15 am-12:00pm

In recognition of Autistic Pride Day (which typically falls on June 18 of each year) members of the Central Ohio/Ohio State Autistic Self-Advocacy Network will meet with two state representatives to discuss the policy issues that are important to autistic people. We will then hold a picnic/brownbag lunch on the state house lawn. Members of the community are welcome to join us for this event.

RSVP and Contact Information.
Those interested in attending should RSVP by the afternoon of Friday, June 12. Please send an email to

8:45am For those uncomfortable with getting to the state house on their own: meet Hillary and Melanie at the campus Barnes & Noble. We’ll take the #2 bus down to the state house. (Bring appropriate fare—$1.50 each way.)
9:15am Everyone meet in the lobby of Riffe Tower, 77 S. High St., Columbus, OH.
(For those parking, rates are $2/hour.)
9:30am Meeting with Representative Kevin Bacon
10:00am Meeting with Representative Ted Celeste
10:30am Brief tour of the State House
11:00am Lunch on the state house lawn! Please bring your own lunch, in a lunch bag or backpack. (If it rains, we’ll eat inside the lobby of Riffe Tower.)
12:00pm Head home, or bus back to Barnes & Noble with Hillary and Melanie.

The Autistic Self-Advocacy Network (ASAN) works to advance the autistic culture movement and to improve the representation of the autistic community in public policy deliberations about autism and disability affairs. The Central Ohio chapter of ASAN seeks to provide opportunities for social and community involvement in and around the Columbus area.

Autistic Pride Day (cited from Wikipedia) is a celebration of the neurological diversity of people on the autism spectrum and is about shifting views of autism from “disease” to “difference.” Autistic pride asserts that autistic people have a unique set of characteristics that provide them many rewards and challenges, not unlike their non-autistic peers.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

ASAN Submits Amicus Brief to the US Supreme Court

The Autistic Self Advocacy Network, along with several other advocacy groups, has submitted an amicus brief to the United States Supreme Court in the case of Winkelman v. Parma City School District. The lawsuit was brought by the parents of an Autistic child who was not given the opportunity to continue receiving occupational therapy services in an Ohio school after the district had agreed that those services were necessary. The school district prepared an IEP stating only that a further assessment of the need for the services would be completed.

The Supreme Court is seeking to resolve a conflict among the Circuit Courts of Appeals, which have taken conflicting approaches to the question of whether a court's analysis of the content of an IEP should consider only the written IEP or whether the court has discretion to consider other evidence as well.

Parents play a major role in developing an IEP, which is analogous to a contract with the school district specifying the educational services to be provided to the child. Related services such as occupational therapy also must be specified in the IEP pursuant to federal law as set forth in 20 U.S.C. § 1414(d)(1)(A)(4). School districts are prohibited from making unilateral decisions about a child's IEP.

Consistent with the general rule that in contract law, evidence outside the written terms of the contract ordinarily is not admissible in court, three Courts of Appeals have ruled that only the written IEP should be considered in determining whether it is adequate. However, three other Courts of Appeals, including the court from which the Winkelman case was appealed, reached the opposite conclusion in deciding that an IEP lacking the required specific content could nevertheless be found valid based on consideration of other evidence.

The Autistic Self Advocacy Network is asking the Supreme Court to rule that when courts analyze the content of an IEP to determine its adequacy, only the written IEP should be considered. A school district should not be allowed to omit required content from a child's IEP and then to assert later that it intended to supplement the IEP. Allowing districts to postpone decisions on the content of an IEP can lead to considerable delay in providing occupational therapy and other necessary services. The educational well-being of Autistic children and other students with disabilities is best served when they receive therapy without interruption or delay.

Ari Ne'eman
The Autistic Self Advocacy Network
1660 L Street, NW, Suite 700
Washington, DC 20036

Monday, June 1, 2009

Vernon Smith

Here is a worthwhile post by Professor Stephen Hsu. Vernon Smith is a noble prize winning economist and an Aspie. The post itself links to a number of other useful articles on Smith. I found his discussion of teaching to be particularly meaningful to me in my situation as a teacher.

There are People Out There That John Best Hates More Than Us

John Best of Hating Autism has said this about disability civil rights:

… You hurt your case by mentioning queers. Nobody is opposed to you for your religion or your Asperger's. When you align that with queers, you include yourself with severely deranged people. No decent person wants their kids to have to listen to that acceptance crap for perverts. We don't accept it as an alternative lifestyle and we don't want our kids influenced by it. Keep it in the closet and nobody cares.
You say you don't align yourself with Ne'eman but you call yourself autistic the same way he does. You aren't. You have Asperger's. Call yourself that and I don't give a damn what you do. Identify yourself as having the same condition as my kid while it looks like your AS is no big deal and I have a big problem with it. You're telling the world that "autism" is no big deal which is completely untrue. Autism is a nightmare for the person who has it and everyone who has to deal with it.
I just spoke briefly with Ne'eman on a radio show. He dodged my concerns about his abuse of the word "autism" and ignored my contention that he misrepresented the truth with his anti-cure rhetoric. I was cutoff before I could respond to his nonsensical political crap.
Yes, he speaks well when unopposed but he would not fare very well in any sort of debate with someone who sees through his bogus avoidance of the truth.

Do you need any more proof that Asperger hatred is not any different to being homophobic? I have no idea what Mr. Best thinks about Judaism but he has already gone on the record as saying that people with Aspergers are mentally ill and need to be cured. That sounds like opposition to me. I figure we are as safe with Mr. Best with our Asperger syndrome as homosexuals are in the closet.

Ironically enough, Melanie sent me the link to this radio exchange last night. (Start it around the 37th minute) I listened to it and I must say that it was nice to hear the voice behind the blogger; Mr. Best even sounds like my stereotype of a bigoted hick.
I guess Mr. Best and I must have heard two very different exchanges. He comes out throwing accusations at Ne’eman, none of which have anything to do with reality. At the moment Asperger syndrome is listed as a type of autism so no one is conspiring here or telling any lies. We are simply running with the medical classification on the ground. No one is trying to deny anyone medical attention. I think Ne’eman did a very good job on that front outlining the sorts of help he is trying to get for everyone from across the spectrum, including Mr. Best’s son. I think that any fair minded person listening to that exchange would have come away thinking that Mr. Best is a brain damaged pig and that Ne’eman is a sterling gentleman. Now who stands in need of a cure? It is a pity that we cannot cart bigots off into hospitals and make them take special education classes.