Danya20: “Different, Not Less”

Image of a rainbow umbrella in a sea of black umbrellas, with the caption "Different, Not Less"Dr. Temple Grandin, animal behavior expert and author of The Autistic Brain, once stated, “I am different, not less.” Danya International has believed in this sentiment from our very beginning. Many of the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grants that we received throughout our early years focused on how to help facilitate inclusion and communication with the autism spectrum disorder (ASD) community.

Since 2002, we have developed and evaluated a number of educational products for individuals with ASD and their caregivers, peers, professionals, and advocates who work with them. Our goal was to create products that would help build effective communication and listening skills within the ASD community, advocate for social inclusion in the general education system, and support the emotional and behavioral health of individuals with ASD.

As we began researching best ways to reach our target audiences with our programs and products, we realized that, while many websites offered products and information about autism, we could not find one online resource for individuals to go to find research-based, high-quality products that meet the needs of individuals with ASD.

Logo for Autism Online So Danya decided to become what we were looking for. In 2009, we took over management of AutismOnline, a site started by the parent of a young girl with autism. This parent’s vision of a website that would provide resources on a global scale to people with autism and their caregivers fell in line with our own ideas for an online ASD community.

AutismOnline was the first website of its kind devoted to providing research-based, effective, high-quality resources, products, and information on ASD across the lifespan. It also is a place where parents and caregivers of children and individuals with ASD can visit and know they are not alone. Visitors can access the Caregiver Community, an online community where autism caregivers can find information and connect with other autism caregivers.

Our mission to provide products for all individuals within the ASD community makes AutismOnline a unique and extensive resource. We provide information divided into four age categories: young children with autism, children with autism, young adults with autism, and adults with autism. Within these categories, we provide handouts, activities, and links to external websites and organizations.

We also offer our line of ASD-related products, which we have painstakingly designed to target the unmet needs of this growing population. Some of our more recent products include:

Image of Charting the Course curriculum binderCharting the Course, a curriculum designed to help parents of adolescents with an ASD from ages 10 to 18 years to support and educate their children in learning the skills needed to navigate sexual health, sexuality, and relationships. Charting the Course includes a 315-page Parent’s Guide that contains chapters on topics such as puberty and personal hygiene, relationships, sexuality, and sexual health. Also included is a complementary interactive game, Boardwalk Adventure, designed to help adolescents solidify learning about sensitive topics, such as puberty and personal hygiene, friendships and relationships, dating etiquette, and sexuality-related topics in an interactive and fun way.

Image of Caring for Caregivers cover artCaring for Caregivers, an education and support group curriculum designed for professionals or paraprofessionals to use to help caregivers of individuals with autism across the lifespan reduce the stress, burden, depression, and anxiety related to caregiving. This four-part program is designed for groups of caregivers of: young children, school-aged children, adolescents and young adults, and adults with ASD. Each individual program contains a Facilitator’s Guide, Participant Workbook, and audiovisual program. Caregiver Community is a complementary website that visitors can use to find and share resources with other caregivers in their Caring for Caregiver groups or in their local community.

These products and many more can be found on AutismOnline.

In addition to our SBIR work, Danya recently assisted the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in a holistic evaluation of their Learn the Signs. Act Early. program, which aims to improve early identification of children with autism and other developmental disabilities so children and families can get the services and support they need. We also have been helping to fill a need among Tribal communities, where resources are scarce, by giving out copies of our AutismVision: Creating Autism Awareness in Elementary School Staff curriculum during Head Start-related workshops. Our workshop attendees have provided excellent feedback for our much-needed assistance to these communities.

As Dr. Grandin and so many others with ASD prove consistently, those who are “different, not less” can make extraordinary contributions to society—it is up to us as their advocates, friends, and family to make sure they have the chance. For this reason, Danya has been deeply committed to our efforts to enhance and support the lives of children and adults with ASD as well as their community.

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Danya Helps You Make Every Day a Healthy One with 2014 Calendar

Health Days CalendarDanya International recently released its first health observances calendar, available in print and online. The calendar highlights nearly 60 health observances throughout 2014, providing interactive ways to learn more about each observance and ways to support the health days.

The calendar, developed in cross-collaboration with team members from creative services and digital communication, was the brainchild of Janice Nall, managing director of Danya’s Atlanta office.

“We wanted to create a beautiful health observance calendar that public health advocates, like us, either could hang in their offices or interact with on their browsers. And I believe the team achieved that,” said Nall.

Beyond developing an easily navigable at-a-glance tool, the Danya team hopes the calendar will become a part of the preparation process when public health professionals plan events and promotional messaging in support of national and global health observances.

Richard Russell, associate director of creative services and the creator of the calendar’s theme, said, “Our thinking is that sometimes visuals are the best way to remind us of why we show up every day—to prevent and eventually eradicate diseases that affect our communities and world. To make every day a healthy one.”

To download and print Danya’s 2014 health observance calendar, visit www.danya.com/healthdays. If you recently received/downloaded the calendar and you’re looking for creative ways to hang up the poster in your office, check out this six-second tutorial produced by the Danya team.

Keep up with how Danya is making every day a healthy one by following the #healthdays conversation on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

By Kianta Key

NPIN Hosts AIDS Memorial Quilt at Danya

Photo of a portion of the AIDS Memorial Quilt

CDC NPIN partners are invited to visit the AIDS Memorial Quilt at
Danya International’s Atlanta Office at
9 Corporate Square, Suite 100, Atlanta, GA 30329

On December 1, World AIDS Day, people from around the world will join together in recognition and support of the estimated 34.2 million people living with HIV. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Prevention Information Network (CDC NPIN) is one of many organizations that will be commemorating this important day to continue to raise awareness and promote HIV prevention across the United States. This year, from November 18 through December 6, in support of World AIDS Day, NPIN is hosting a portion of the AIDS Memorial Quilt at Danya International’s Atlanta location. The 15 panels on display represent a small section of the more than 48,000 unique and beautifully crafted works collected by the NAMES Project Foundation. The foundation’s mission is “to preserve, care for, and use the AIDS Memorial Quilt to foster healing, heighten awareness, and inspire action in the age of AIDS.”

Photo of a panel from the AIDS Memorial Quilt

Panel on display at Danya’s Atlanta Office

The idea for the AIDS Memorial Quilt was conceived by AIDS activist Cleve Jones in 1985. His vision was to create a visual commemorative symbol for the many struggling with and dying from AIDS. He wanted to start a national community project that would connect the victims of the disease and their supporters across the nation through an incredible collection of patchwork art. Jones created the first AIDS Quilt panel in 1987, in honor of his close friend Marvin Feldman.

Danya International invites CDC NPIN partners to become a part of the AIDS Quilt community by visiting the Atlanta Office and viewing the collection on display. CDC NPIN and Danya International, as well as others from across the world, will wear the red ribbon and re-pledge their support to the fight against AIDS on Worlds AIDS Day. Together, organizations and individuals from across the globe will use this day to march, speak out, connect on social media, and promote HIV testing, awareness, and prevention.

Check out the CDC NPIN Pinterest board with pictures of the AIDS Quilt display.

How will you show your support on World AIDS Day? Share your support activities with @CDCNPIN on Twitter.

By Tracye Poole

Women + Public Health + Social Media: Announcing a Live Google+ Hangout for Social Media Week ‘13

SMWeek 13

Danya International, Inc., is bringing public health to the 2013 Social Media Week party with the Google+ Hangout, Engaging Women in Public Health Through Social Media on Tuesday, September 24 at 2 p.m. EST.

The Danya Digitalists, our special in-house team devoted to all things digital all the time, gathered a multi-generational group composed of women who are social media and public health experts and influencers to share best practices, cutting-edge information, and perspectives for engaging women in public health through social media. The Hangout’s panelists include:

  • Rebecca Aguilar: Emmy award-winning reporter and social media coach (@RebeccaAguilar)
  • Barbara Ficarra, RN: HealthIn30.com founder, health educator, and Huffington Post contributor (@BarbaraFicarra)
  • Dr. Sandra Ford: Director of the DeKalb County (Georgia) Board of Health (@HealthyDeKalb)
  • Michele Late: American Public Health Association, Executive Editor of The Nation’s Health (@michelelate)
  • Pam Moore: Expert in Google+, Facebook, and social business (@PamMktgNut)
  • Patricia Redsicker: Healthcare writer and content marketing expert (@predsicker)
  • Elin Silveous: Entrepreneur and advocate in health and social media (@ElinSilveous)

Erin Edgerton Norvell, Danya’s Senior Director for Communication Strategy and Digital and the moderator for this event, said, “We’re excited about taking our Social Media Week event to the digital streets. It’s also a great opportunity to highlight women who understand the impact of social media in public health.”

Our panel of experts will answer your questions about what channels and forums they have used to communicate successfully with women about health, the public health topics most discussed by women online, and preparing your social media resources for reaching women in the future, among others.

So jump into the conversation on the Google+ page, share your questions and thoughts with @DanyaIntl on Twitter using the #W4PH (that’s short for “Women for Public Health”), or email the event’s coordinator, Carlos Chapman, for more details. We look forward to hanging out with you!

About Social Media Week

Social Media Week is a leading media platform and worldwide event with local presence and global reach across five continents, including Europe, North America, South America, Africa, and Asia. Because of the shift we are experiencing and the changes happening in our lives, society, culture, and business, our mission is to capture, curate, and share the most meaningful ideas, trends, and best practices with regard to technology and social media’s impact on business, society, and culture. For more information, visit www.socialmediaweek.org

By Kianta Key