Innovative Practice 2018 on Accessibility

Online resource for parents of children with learning and attention issues

Understood.org is a free comprehensive website resource for parents of children aged 3–20+ with learning and attention issues. Created by 15 non-profit US organizations, the site is managed and operated by the New York-based National Center for Learning Disabilities. It offers more than 2,500 pieces of expert – vetted content, five interactive tools, daily access to experts, and an on-site/social media community of parents and experts available in English and Spanish, as well as in read-aloud mode for parents who may have their own learning and attention issues.

“Having this kind of support means the world to me. It is very lonely being the mom of a child with a learning difference. So few people understand! Thank you for being such a great resource and a source of support for us.”

Mother of an eight-year old boy with dyslexia
About the practice at a glance
Name of Innovative Practice:Online resource for parents of children with learning and attention issues
Organisation:Understood.org
Country
of Implementation
United States of America

FACTS & FIGURES

  • From October 2014 to mid of 2017 more than 32 million visitors have used Understood.org resources, with a record of 2 million individuals in a single month in 2017.
  • In March 2017 usage increased by 51 percent compared to the year before.

PROBLEMS TARGETED

One in five people have brain-based learning and attention issues, such as dyslexia and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Research shows that many parents feel alone and ill-prepared to help their children academically, socially, and emotionally.

SOLUTION, INNOVATION, AND IMPACT

Incorporating the principles of Universal Design for Learning, Understood.org translates expert information into easy-to-use, engaging, and practical information that helps parents on a day-to-day basis to assist children with learning and attention issues. One of the features, “Through Your Child’s Eyes,” provides five short game-like simulations allowing parents to experience their children’s learning and attention issues, watch videos about children like theirs, as well as hear expert input.
Another tool called “Tech Finder” matches available technology with children’s specific needs, while “Parenting Coach” summarizes expert behavioral advice collected over the years into proven, bite-sized tips. In addition, free daily online chats and webinars give parents access to renowned experts and the opportunity to ask questions.
Understood.org image boards on the Times Square.OUTLOOK, TRANSFERABILITY AND FUNDING
The National Center for Learning Disabilities (NCLD), one of Understood.org’s founding partners and the organization that operated Understood.org, is a leading organization, committed to improving the lives of the one in five children and adults nationwide with learning and attention issues. Together, the NCLD policy team and the Understood.org team bring the parent perspective to NCLD’s critical policy work with national and state lawmakers.
Understood.org has also begun to work on the ground by bringing parents together, supporting them, and mobilizing them to advocate at the local, state, and national level. Although designed for parents whose children attend U.S. schools, Understood.org has been discovered and embraced by people from around the world in both English and Spanish. In fact, about 40 per cent of all usage comes from countries other than the United States.
Through a media campaign donated by the U.S. Ad Council (running in the U.S.), awareness of learning and attention issues is increasing among parents whose children are struggling but are undiagnosed. Understood.org is supported by private foundations.

FACTSHEET

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VIDEO

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LINKS AND FURTHER READING