The World's Blind Visionary, Daniel learned a new way to see with sound, and helps others see better through his global non-profit World Access For The Blind. Voted one of the top 10 speakers at TED2015 and PopTech's talk of the day, and featured in over 150 major publications and broadcasts reaching over 2 billion people around the globe, Daniel has inspired thousands of clients from Fortune 500s to individuals. His penetrating ability to activate audiences to navigate any challenge is highly sought world wide.
With over 20 years conducting hundreds of workshops and training people of every age and background, Daniel refers to himself as an "activational" presenter recognizing that whatever may be our motivations, inspirations and aspirations, in the end we must act.
Daniel and his team have garnered a solid reputation for getting results no matter how challenging the conditions. With two masters degrees and a rare ability to navigate anywhere in total darkness, Daniel is the first blind person ever known to be certified to teach blind people how to navigate, and the first to apply these same principals to help everyone, blind and sighted alike, navigate any challenge more effectively and with less fear.
Having lost both eyes to cancer as a baby, Daniel's well reputed expertise comes from his own experience learning to navigate the dark unknown. Within a few months of losing his eyes, it became clear to those around him that Daniel was learning to discern the nature and location of objects well beyond his reach. By clicking his tongue and listening to the patterns of information that echoed back to him, Daniel began to construct images in his mind of near and distant surroundings that allowed him to navigate freely as if he was seeing.
In a series of ground-breaking brain scan studies which Daniel later helped to design, these images were discovered to be the result of Daniel's activation of his visual cortex. The reflected sound patterns are like camera flashes imprinting his mind with three-dimensional images of his surroundings. With this process Daniel can recognize an inch thick pole from several meters away, describe his surroundings in vivid detail, and scan the main features of a building from several hundred meters. Through a staggering twist of neural plasticity that has since laid new ground work for multiple fields of science, Daniel's ears have become his eyes, later earning him the title "real-life bat man" the world over.
As the darkness around him receded, Daniel's freedom to understand and relate to his world on his own terms blossomed. His whole body from ears to feet became a live antenna - every sensation giving critical contribution to his perception and navigation. No resource of information or adaptive strategy was left untapped by Daniel or his parents, a practice that has come to characterize Daniel's approach to every situation and endeavor.
Daniel's parents knew his blindness would pose significant challenges, and they knew that fear would compromise his ability to face those challenges. Therefore, fear and doubt held no sway in Daniel's upbringing. Walking himself to his neighborhood school, finding his own way around new places, bicycling on his own, tree climbing, competitive games of tag, ball play, and general roughhousing were just a few of the typical activities that characterized Daniel's active boyhood. Fear of the unknown, man's most primal fear, was thus neutralized in young Daniel's mind freeing him to face all of life's challenges with little trepidation. He now refers to this as "befriending the unknown" and he is frequently called upon to share its benefits with everyone from babies and teachers, to top executives and world class scientists.
As he grew to face an expanding world of increasing complexity designed by sighted people for sighted people, Daniel found the need to leverage his own capacities and efficacy by engaging and managing networks of visual support from those around him. He had observed that enlisting sighted support can and often does lead to dependency and passivity among blind people. Resolved not to let this constrain him, Daniel learned to maintain his autonomy while engaging support from others when needed by remaining active, vigilant, and true to his own capabilities. This process which Daniel now calls dynamic network navigation has helped him to navigate through turbulent and uncharted territories in his own enterprises, providing him with a wealth of experiences and perspectives in leadership, entrepreneurship, and situational analysis.
During his years in college Daniel conducted pilot research to develop the first documented methodology to teach what he called Flash Sonar to other blind people. This led to becoming the first totally blind person in the world known to earn certification to teach blind people how to navigate. As this certification was historically denied to blind people, Daniel's entry into this field has helped open the way for other blind instructors, thus mobilizing a monumental paradigm shift in all fields related to blindness.
The unprecedented freedom to navigate with a new form of vision demonstrated by himself and many of his blind students, riding skateboards and bikes, hiking mountains on their own, competing in high speed sports, and participating more widely in their communities, activated a wave of media intrigue that spanned the globe. In answer to floods of enthusiastic correspondence Daniel led the founding of World Access for the Blind in the year 2000 to help blind people bring about for themselves a measure of liberty, dignity, and life quality that was historically believed impossible for the blind to achieve.
Rising from the ashes of 9/11, and assailed by repeated economic and political upheaval, Daniel rallied every ounce of life experience to navigate World Access for the Blind to world prominence. Through the widely acclaimed work of its blind presenters and navigation instructors, World Access for the Blind has delivered activation workshops, keynotes, consultations, and private trainings to thousands of individuals, companies, schools, and organizations throughout the U.S. and over 40 countries. In addition to TED and PopTech, Daniel and his team have presented to five TEDx conferences, and numerous science and technical conferences, business conferences, governor's councils, and public forums. The revolutionary impact of activation training has been featured in over a dozen scholarly and popular books, nearly every major TV network in the world, and a broad range of radio broadcasts, peer reviewed journals, and top publications.
Daniel and his team unswervingly aim to help activate people to perceive and understand their world and themselves better. Daniel's premise is simple - if we want to change the world, we must change ourselves. His principals for activating change are simple - challenge everything we think we know by stepping beyond the programming of conventional wisdom and finding our own blind spots; befriend the unknown by conquering fear and doubt; find the knowns within the unknown through points of reference; and recognize and apply all available supports and resources through dynamic network navigation.
Daniel's bearing of calm assurance with every word and movement, richly textured with a dry humor and wry wit, presents an affect that has been called "contagiously transformative." Having presented to many non-native English speakers, his speech is carefully measured, clear, and precise. When time and interest permit, Daniel may write or tailor a dynamically expressive song to fit the theme and accent the message. An experienced stage performer and classically trained vocalist, his rich, full baritone and three octave range fills just about any size space with warm resonance and purpose. Whether a Keynote, seminar, or extended workshop, Daniel's audiences enjoy a personally activating and lasting transformation through his rich and engaging narratives, expressive delivery, compelling demonstrations, and provocative audience participation.
The last five years alone have seen the work of Daniel and his team featured in printed publications including Chronicle of Philanthropy, Men's Journal (voted sixth best read of 2011 by Readers Digest), BBC World Service, The Week, The Smithsonian, National Geographic, Scholastic Magazine, Wall Street Journal, U.S. News and World Report, Scientific American, Psychology Today, Popular Science, Washington Post, and Success Magazine; TV broadcasts including NBC News TODAY, ABC Nightly News, Sanjay Gupta with CNN International, Discovery Daily Planet, Guinness World Records, HD Net's News and World Report, The Weather Channel's Human Eclipse, and BBC Horizon Science; radio broadcasts including BBC radio, and NPR'S This American Life, Morning Edition, and All Things Considered; and a multitude more.
Himself a prolific writer, Daniel has contributed to numerous textbooks, peer reviewed journals, popular magazines, and specialty periodicals. Publication of Daniel's textbook on teaching FlashSonar, the first of its kind, is scheduled for early 2016, to be followed by two more books under negotiation about his life and the hard science behind his approach.
Daniel's special interests and areas of study include at risk children, family dynamics, neural-anthropology, industrial-organizational psychology, the science of perception and action, interactive networking, ancient music, spirituality, healthy living, personal transformation, and all things of the great outdoors. Daniel is most warmly grateful to his parents for his liberating up-bringing and life experiences, and for the invaluable opportunity to exchange knowledge, perspectives, and insights with thousands of professionals and consumers all over the world.