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Calls to Action

Autism Speaks welcomes three new board members

December 02, 2015

Autism Speaks, the world's leading autism science and advocacy organization, announced the election of three new members of its Board. The new board members are Valerie Paradiz, PhD, Jamie T. Richardson, and Stephen Shore, Ed.D. Read their biographies below. 

Valerie Paradiz, PhD

Dr. Paradiz, is a longtime supporter of Autism Speaks having first joined the family services committee in 2012 while also serving on the Community Advisory Board.  Dr. Paradiz is the director of Valerie Paradiz, LLC, a consultancy that provides technical assistance and strategic development to schools, universities, corporations and agencies that support individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Prior to joining the Autism Research Institute (ARI) in her part-time capacity as Executive Director of the Autistic Global Initiative (AGI), Dr. Paradiz served as Director of Education at New York University’s Asperger Institute.

Dr. Paradiz developed the 2010 International Book Award finalist in education, Integrated Self-Advocacy ISA®, an evidence-based program that gives teachers, therapists, service providers, families and people with disabilities hands-on curricula and tools to foster their ability in self-advocacy and self-determination. She is the author of the book Elijah's Cup: A Family's Journey into the Community and Culture of High-Functioning Autism and Asperger's Syndrome.

Dr. Paradiz is the 2015 recipient of the Autism Society of America’s Adam Heavner Memorial Award for promoting successful employment of individuals with autism. In addition to the Autism Speaks board, she also serves on the Bank Street College of Education’s Autism Annotation Board and is an NGO representative to the United Nations. She received her PhD in German Studies with honors from City University of New York’s Graduate Center. Before moving fully into the field of autism, Dr. Paradiz published translations of German literature (All I Need Is Love, Klaus Kinski, Random House, 1995), as well as narrative nonfiction (Clever Maids: A History of the Grimm Fairy Tales, Perseus, 2005) while teaching writing and literature at Bard College.


Jamie T. Richardson

Richardson took his love of White Castle hamburgers to its logical extreme, joining the White Castle home office team in 1998. He serves as Vice President, White Castle System, Inc. with responsibilities for government affairs, shareholder relations, public relations and corporate philanthropy.

In recent years, Richardson has led White Castle’s involvement in entertainment projects like “Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle”, “Undercover Boss” and “Impractical Jokers”. Richardson is frequently quoted in major print and broadcast media on restaurant industry perspectives on current events and policy issues. He serves on the board of Family Enterprise USA, the National Council of Chain Restaurants and the Ohio Restaurant Association where he serves as Vice Chairman of the Board. In 2014, Richardson was named the National Restaurant Association’s “Advocate of the Year”. 

Richardson is active in his community, serving on a number of charity boards. He is Chairman of the Board for the American Red Cross of Greater Columbus, Ohio, and serves on the YMCA of Central Ohio board, as well as the American Red Cross National Philanthropy Board.

Richardson has demonstrated a powerful passion and commitment to Autism Speaks over the past several years, spearheading the White Castle efforts that have raised over $3.5 million dollars. He has testified before the Ohio State House of Representatives and worked with Autism Speaks board member Laura Slatkin to create the “Original Slider” White Castle hamburger scented candle – an effort that has raised awareness and over $350,000 for Autism Speaks.

As a 4th generation family member “in-law” Jamie invests his time and passion in the White Castle vision of “remaining a family owned business for generations to come. Jamie and his wife Kate live in Mount Vernon, Ohio and have five children, Brendan, Chloe, Mary, Grace, Maggie and Finn.


Stephen Shore, Ed.D.

Dr. Shore is a clinical assistant professor at the Ammon School of Education at Adelphi University teaching courses in special education and autism. Before his election to the Board of Directors Dr. Shore served on the Autism Speaks Family Services committee.

Dr. Shore focuses his work on matching well-thought out educational practices to individual needs that promote fulfilling and productive lives for those with autism. It is because of his personal experiences when he was nonverbal and his parents refused to institutionalize him that Dr. Shore has become an advocate of intensive early intervention matched to the needs of the individual with autism. He speaks and consults throughout the world on educational and social inclusion, sensory processing challenges, bullying, as well as many other issues associated with successful transitioning into adulthood for those with autism.

Dr. Shore’s writings can regularly be seen in the media. He also shares his experiences in his autobiography Beyond the wall: Personal experiences with autism and Asperger Syndrome, Ask and tell: Self-advocacy and disclosure for people on the autism spectrum, and the DVD Living along the autism spectrum: What is means to have autism or Asperger Syndrome

In addition to his work with Autism Speaks, Dr. Shore serves as President emeritus of the Asperger/Autism Network. He also serves on the board of Specialisterne-USA, the Asperger Syndrome and High Functioning Autism Association, the United States Autism and Asperger Association, and is the President of the Asperger Syndrome Support Network of the Russian Federation.

Dr. Shore received his Ed.D. in Special Education from the Boston University School of Education in 2008.