Autism Awareness Month

Danya Celebrates with Autism Twitter Town Hall

Friday, April 1st, marked the first day of Autism Awareness month. Excitingly on that day, in a presidential proclamation, President Barack Obama declared that April 2nd will forever be known as Autism Awareness Day. He noted that autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are now known to affect almost 1% of all children (1 in 110) and, therefore, constitute an “urgent public health issue.” This recognition and the rising awareness of autism here in the United States and around the world is heartening, as not too long ago autism was grossly misunderstood, ignored, misclassified, underdiagnosed, and undertreated. We have come a long way toward accurately and efficiently recognizing, identifying, treating, and researching autism.

Since 2002, Danya has been working to increase public awareness about ASD, and to develop programs and products to improve the lives of individuals with autism and their families. For example, with a grant from the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), we developed AutismVision: Creating Classroom Connections, which is a DVD-based intervention designed to teach neurotypical peers about ASD to enhance the social inclusion of students with ASD in elementary and middle school settings. Danya also developed STRIVE, a training curriculum to support adolescents and young adults with Asperger syndrome or high functioning autism in transitioning successfully from high school to postsecondary educational settings. We recently redesigned and overhauled our website, AutismOnline, which is devoted to providing individuals with autism and their families, educators, and professional caregivers access to research-based, high-quality, affordable resources and products on autism across the lifespan.

To help promote autism awareness, Danya is organizing a Twitter Town Hall event focused on autism on Wednesday, April 27th, from 2:00–3:00 p.m. EST. The goal of the Twitter Town Hall is to engage participants in a lively discussion about autism and, in the process, raise awareness about autism. A Twitter Town Hall is simply a focused discussion for a set period of time over Twitter, and open to all personal and organization Twitter accounts. It is a chance to engage people from anywhere in the world with a shared interest—in this case, autism. We invite anyone interested to participate. Please include the hashtag #autismtownhall in all tweets during the Town Hall.



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