Daniel Share-Strom is one of the best-known young Autism advocates and educators in Ontario. "I talk about stuff that really matters - things your doctor doesn't tell you and teachers don't know," says the young Canadian determined to change perceptions of autism in our communities..
Daniel is a writer, motivational speaker, workshop facilitator, and co-founder of Autism Goggles, a social initiative determined to ‘reframe understanding of autism’ to focus on ability and strengths.
Diagnosed with autism at a young age, Daniel has been moving audiences with his self-awareness, poignant insight, and humour for nearly 15 years. He does this with full-day workshops and speeches which help parent groups, universities, autism organizations, workplaces, and health care professionals to understand the many features and traits of autism using plain language and practical examples. He is committed to equality, fairness, and social justice for all people as he works to shift society toward acceptance and understanding of neurodiversity. He speaks up and speaks out for those who have not yet found their voice.
Daniel has been welcomed in many high-profile places. He’s delivered his message of autism understanding and acceptance at the Centres for Disease Control (CDC) in Atlanta, Georgia, as keynote for their Autism Awareness Month event; delivered a TEDx Talk at a major university, and shifted understanding of autism for a room full of Canadian change-makers with a speech to The Conference Board of Canada. He has been a guest presenter/lecturer at several universities and colleges, and has provided professional development for mental health professionals in Ontario. He delivered the opening speech for the Geneva Autism Symposium in Toronto, and co-facilitated a 90-minute session as well.
Though Daniel speaks to educators, doctors, and other professionals, his favorite audience is parents: "Parents play the major role in determining whether we feel capable or inept; weird or unique; focused or obsessed. Once parents understand us, they can share that knowledge with teachers and other important people in our lives. They can bait us toward new experiences, new skills, and hope. Thank goodness for parents."
Daniel holds an Honours Degree in Communications from the University of Ontario Institute of Technology. a post-graduate certificate in Children's Media, and has a certificate in Positive Psychology from Wilfred Laurier University.
By day, Maxine Share has the best job in the world—she is an autism consultant working for a non-profit agency. Though she gets to stand up for those on the spectrum in her work—and to teach, provide workshops, and, at various times, has run both parent support groups and sibling workshops--it’s not enough.
That’s because she sees firsthand, the cost of society’s lack of a true understanding of autism. Too often, the cost is a list like this: anxiety, depression, social isolation, loneliness, and a lifetime of underachievement This is what can happen when expectations fail to take into account the unique way of learning and of experiencing of the physical world that commonly accompany a diagnosis of autism. For many children on the spectrum, the speed and volume of school expectations, along with all of the sensory and social demands of the school setting far outweigh their ability to cope.
Maxine has learned that a determined, educated parent can make a very positive difference for their child. Knowledge is power, and she is determined to share what she has learned to try and improve the lives of autistic children. She believes that these unique learners should not have to suffer because of systems of support that do not understand autism. The onus should not on vulnerable children to figure out the neurotypical world; rather, NTs who care about the child should learn about the culture of autism and the approaches that can help the child to achieve their potential, and feel safe and accepted in doing so..
So yes. Maxine spends most of her time outside of work trying to educate people about autism—specifically the challenges of those with verbal autism, with average or higher intelligence: ASD Level 1—formerly Asperger’s Syndrome. In addition to her day job, Maxine is an autistic writer, workshop developer, autism advocate and a passionate champion of the strengths and abilities of individuals on the autism spectrum.
She has a talent for explaining autistic traits and features in a way that allows others to consider the world through the autism lens—to understand what it can mean to be autistic in a neurotypical world. Through her posts, articles, and training workshops, she empowers others to change the way they teach and support their child, loved one, or students on the spectrum.
She and her son Daniel write and co-facilitate fun and informative full-day workshops for families, teachers, and interested others to learn about autism. Thousands of students, parents, and professionals in Ontario have attended their popular, always evolving What Doctors Don’t Tell You and Teachers Don’t Know.
Maxine’s says that when society understands that autism is just another way of being human, her work will be done!