Saturday, June 1, 2013

The Great Shain Neumeier, Esq.

Remember the Autism Wars post Mother's Day? I mentioned people who everyone should know. One of them is Shain Neumeier, an eloquent attorney, writer, and speaker on topics of autism and social justice. Shain is one of my personal heros. So here's a brief introduction to Shain, with the hope that more people will get to know more about this outstanding attorney and champion of social justice.

Shain Neumeier giving a presentation on restraint, seclusion
and aversives in schools and programs for Education Law.
Rocking the T-shirt version of the white polo shirt worn by my son,
and designed by autistic disability rights activist Lydia Brown

Shain Neumeier is a disabled attorney living in Portland, Oregon. Shain has researched issues involving institutional abuse of youth and disabled people for a number of years and currently works with the law firm of O'Donnell, Clark & Crew in seeking damages from a notorious "emotional growth" boarding school for decades of abuse. Both as part of a research assistant position and out of interest, Shain attended last year's trial over the Judge Rotenberg Center's abuse of Andre McCollins.

During the trial, the Judge Rotenberg Center and its representatives, faced with having to explain video evidence of their abuse to a jury and to the public at large, attempted to paint Andre McCollins both as irrationally and almost untreatably dangerous and as able to work with and learn from a program that punished him for doing so much as tensing in fear. On the other hand, Andre's mother Cheryl and her lawyer Benjamin Novotny presented a compelling case that showed this "treatment" to be as senseless and cruel as the video footage would suggest. The outcome of the trial and its media coverage went beyond the undisclosed settlement between the parties, leading thousands worldwide who viewed what happened to Andre to demand an end to the torture. That end, with continued efforts, may well soon be achieved.

Shain's seven part series on the Andre McCollins trial was published on the Autistic Self Advocacy Network's site and can be read here.

This is the second segment in a series on people who need to be recognized for the work they continue to do for the betterment of the autism community.


1 comment:

  1. Shain is amazing and I love them. They are an epic human being.